March 27, 2020

Most couples will tell you that weddings are stressful.  Imagine if your marriage plans coincide with a global pandemic like COVID-19. 

While weddings may be postponed due to the pandemic, many couples can’t delay getting legally married, for various reasons.  During a time when its offices are closed due to COVID-19, the customer service team at Multnomah County’s Division of Assessments, Records and Tax Collections (DART) continues to process marriage licenses using an old but reliable technology: the U.S. mail.

DART employee Anna Flynn-Ryan processes marriage licenses by mail during COVID-19.

“Since March 23, we have switched to processing marriage licenses only by U.S. mail,” explains Michael Vaughn, director of the county’s Division of Assessments, Records and Tax Collections. “Before the pandemic, couples visited our office in person. We’ve never offered marriage licenses by mail.  But we quickly converted to mail only due to COVID-19 and shared the information for customers on our website.”  

Couples can order a blank marriage license application from the county by email or mail.  County staff mail the application to the requester, who fills it out and returns it by mail with the usual support materials.  County staff then process the application and mail the marriage license packet for the applicant to use at their ceremony.

As of March 26, the county had received 92 requests for marriage license applications and had mailed materials to every person making a request.  The customer service team expects to process many licenses as they start to receive completed applications in the mail in coming days. In 2019 Multnomah County processed 6,546 marriage licenses. The volume typically starts to pick up in April and continues increasing into summer. 

There are many reasons why couples may not want to postpone their marriage due to COVID-19, explains Bonny Vosu, customer relations manager for the division. “Some people are concerned about falling ill and not having their significant other as their next of kin. Other people may need to be married to get on their partner's health insurance due to job losses. Another big issue for people is the need for certified copies of  marriage records to file for social security and to deal with immigration issues.” 

Fortunately, county staff have been able to do their part to keep the age-old tradition of matrimony going during a pandemic.  “Our division is 100% remote-work capable,” said Vaughn, “so things have ramped up for productivity.”

Have you applied for your Multnomah County marriage license by mail during COVID-19?  Email us about your experience at communications@multco.us

Before COVID-19 forced the closure of county offices, couples like this one picked up their marriage license packet in person at the Multnomah Building.