We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing the whale license plates on the road on February 1, 2019! If you missed the voucher sale, you can purchase a plate directly from the DMV on or after Friday, February 1. For more information, read the OSU press release here and the DMV press release here. See the FAQ below for details.

Below is a brief timeline of the entire process, a note about the plate's stylish design, and a list of frequently asked questions.

  • September
    MMI applies for special gray whale license plate voucher sale. DMV review of plate design with Oregon State Police and manufacturer.
  • November
    MMI begins offering whale plate vouchers for sale.
  • April
    MMI sells the 3,000 vouchers required to start DMV approval process.
  • May
    MMI turns in vouchers to DMV.
  • May 2018 – January
    DMV installs new computer software and whale license plates are manufactured.
  • Feb / March
    Plates become available at all local DMV branches. Voucher holders are notified.

General Conditions and FAQs

  • Your purchase of a voucher is a transaction between you and the Marine Mammal Institute. For a proposed special registration plate to qualify for production, the MMI must sell at least 3,000 vouchers and submit them to Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) with payment. This proposed special registration plate is not available for purchase from the DMV at this time.
  • If your voucher is lost, stolen, or damaged, you must contact the MMI for a replacement.
  • Your purchase of this voucher is at your own risk and does not guarantee you will receive a special registration plate.
  • If for any reason the proposed special registration plate does not qualify for production, the MMI — not the DMV — will refund your money.
  • If the proposed special registration plate qualifies for production, the MMI will notify you when you may redeem your voucher with the DMV for your new plates.
  • The sale of the voucher is a fundraising activity of the MMI. The DMV does not and will not control the means or manner of the sale and distribution of vouchers.

In addition to regular title, registration, and plate fees, the specialty whale plate has a $40 surcharge due when you first order the plate and at each registration renewal. The surcharge is the same amount for four-year or two-year registration periods. Complete details can now be found on the Oregon DMV website

The total cost of a set of plates depends upon when and how a vehicle owner applies for a new set. Here are two common scenarios:

1. Vouchers exchanged for new plates within 120 days before a vehicle’s stickers expire:
Whale plate surcharge: $40 ($0 with prepaid voucher) 
Plate fee: $24 for the pair
Plate replacement fee: $5
Registration renewal: $112 (Multnomah County residents add $38)
Total: $181 ($219 in Multnomah County)

2. Vouchers exchanged for new plates more than 120 days before a vehicle’s stickers expire:
Whale plate surcharge: $40 ($0 with prepaid voucher)
Plate fee: $24 for the pair
Plate replacement fee: $10
Total: $74 (registration and renewal fees due prior to sticker expiration)

The Oregon Gray Whale License Plate will go on sale to the general public on February 1, 2019. At that time, you may redeem your voucher at Oregon DMV branches.
To give the whale plate voucher as a gift, sign as Purchaser and complete the bottom “Transfer of Voucher” section in the name of the person receiving the gift. Be sure that you also sign as Transferor in this section.
Yes. Like other Oregon license plates, the gray whale license plate may be customized for an additional DMV charge. Applications for custom plates will be accepted by the DMV starting February 1, 2019.
Yes, you will be able to maintain your current custom 6-character configuration on a whale plate, for an additional DMV charge. Applications for replacement custom plates will be accepted by DMV starting February 1, 2019.
Whale plates are only available with passenger vehicles registered in the State of Oregon. Souvenir plates are not available at this time.

About the Design

Renowned wildlife illustrator Pieter Folkens created the lifelike image depicting the gray whale cow and calf, which has been placed on a two-tone, blue background. A lighthouse sits in the upper left corner of the plate and across the bottom, the plate reads “Coastal Playground.”

The coast is a wonderful place to come and play for ourselves, but other mammals live and play there also.