DMV branches are often unpleasant, but the men's room at the central Denver branch, at 1865 West Mississippi Avenue, is off-the-charts. Aside from the questionable cleanliness of the facilities seen in the video below, virtually every surface has been tagged by graffiti, transforming the space into one capable of scaring the shit out of users even if they only wanted to wash their hands. How long has the bathroom been this bad? And what are officials planning to do about it?
A Westword staffer visited the West Mississippi DMV last summer and found the bathroom in roughly the same condition as is captured in the accompanying video. Mark Couch, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the Division of Motor Vehicles, hasn't been able to discern if it was rehabbed at any point since then. But after viewing the video we shared with him and doing some followup, he says, "I'm told by our staff that it's one of two locations where we have tagging frequently. There was an office in Northglenn where we had a lot of tagging as well." However, he adds, "Most of our other offices don't report frequent problems with this issue and are able to take care of them promptly."
The fact that the central Denver branch is, in Couch's words, "a very busy office," only exacerbates the issue. According to him, staffers there produced 83,047 documents for customers in calendar year 2011, and an estimated 29,066 customers also came through for other reasons, bringing the total to 112,113 not counting friends and family members who might have accompanied folks getting licenses, etc. Presumably, males made up about half this number, and while it's unlikely all of them had to relieve themselves, long wait times common at the office suggest that thousands -- and perhaps tens of thousands -- did last year alone.
Couch doesn't shrug off this situation. "It's unacceptable," he says. "Citizens deserve better." As such, "We're going to address this issue. We rent the space, and we'll be working with the landlord to get a quote on getting painting done and getting it cleaned up."
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