Bothell licensing office to close next month

A spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Licensing, Selena Davis recently confirmed the state’s Bothell, Bellevue and Kirkland license offices will be combined into a new consolidated location in Bellevue.

Davis said the Bothell office in the Bothell Landing shopping plaza will close at the end of September.

Last spring, Davis confirmed the local office was to close, but did not have an exact date for the closure at that time.

Scheduled to open just as the Bothell office closes, the new Bellevue location will be at 13133 N.E. Bel Red Road. Though she was not clear as to the reason, Davis said the state has lost its lease on its current Bellevue office.

Once the state’s Bothell Landing location closes, the nearest license operations for local residents will either be the new Bellevue location or an existing facility in Lynnwood at 18023 Highway 99. Both are located about 12 miles from the Bothell Landing location, though the Bellevue site may be a few tenths of a mile closer.

According to a real-estate Web site listing, the state leased the Bellevue space of 12,050 square feet for five years. The site says the transaction was finalized in early August.

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 issuing state ID cards.

In the spring, Davis said there are a couple of reasons behind the coming closure of the Bothell Landing office. The state’s budget troubles are well known and the department of licensing had proposed shuttering 25 of its locations across Washington to meet cost-cutting measures originally called for by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Davis added the moves are 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, the 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.

In the spring, at least in the case of the Bothell office, Davis said license employees would be not be losing their paychecks, but instead 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.

Even back in the spring, the looming closure was not sitting well with some residents. The Reporter received a number of phone calls relating to the state’s plans. Resident Patricia Patterson’s comments were typical.

“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.

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