News

Come fall, licensing office is set to cruise out of town

Dick Balnicky of Tulalip exits the Washington State Department of Licensing office at Bothell Landing last Thursday afternoon. The office is slated to close in the fall. ANDY NYSTROM, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter -
Dick Balnicky of Tulalip exits the Washington State Department of Licensing office at Bothell Landing last Thursday afternoon. The office is slated to close in the fall. ANDY NYSTROM, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
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A spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Licensing, Selena Davis said the Bothell license office at Bothell Landing likely will close permanently by sometime this fall.

Davis said the office will be combined with any one of three neighboring locations in Lynnwood, Bellevue or Kirkland.

According to the state’s Web site, services at the Bothell office — 18132 Bothell Way N.E. — included providing drivers licenses, driver testing, driving records and state identification cards.

The office also offered the new enhanced drivers licenses, which can double as passports at certain U.S. borders.

Once the Bothell office shuts its doors, the nearest licensing center offering the same services will be the Lynnwood license office at 18023 Highway 99.

Davis said there are two reasons behind the closure of the local office. The state’s budget troubles are well known and the department of licensing has proposed shuttering 25 of its locations across Washington to meet cost-cutting measures called for by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Davis added the move is expected to save $2 million over two years.

For the most part, licensing offices were selected for closure based on their proximity to other offices. But additionally, in the case of Bothell, Davis said state officials had been informed they would be losing their lease on the Bothell Landing location at the end of the year.

The entire shopping plaza is scheduled for closure as part of Bothell’s Crossroads project, a well-advertised plan to realign Bothell Way. Between the looming financial cuts and the loss of the lease, Davis said the closure of the Bothell office became almost inevitable. Davis did not mention any efforts by the state to find another Bothell location.

At least in the case of the Bothell office, license employees will be not be losing their paychecks. According to Davis, employees will be transferred to neighboring offices. Still, she said closing the Bothell location will save the state about $200,000 over two years in lease, utility, equipment and related costs.

The looming closure is not sitting well with some members of the public. Patricia Patterson was one of a couple of local residents who called the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter to complain about the closing.

“I know there is an office in Lynnwood, but that’s not convenient at all for me,” she said, adding that office is a fairly long drive for anyone in the southern part of Bothell.

Patterson added she has a teenage son who will be wanting to take his drivers test sometime this year.

“I just liked the idea of that office being right there,” she said.

Davis said her department is always open to public comment. The department’s Web site can be found at www.dol.wa.gov.

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