WESTERN TREASURE VALLEY — License plates are not only a necessity for anyone who wishes to drive a motor vehicle, they can be a source of style and expression, too. A statement of freedom, the plates are a colorful way to openly support for a cause. Across the U.S., states offer specialized plates that support various causes, needs or charities within their respective states and counties.
The State of Oregon is no different, and issues a wide variety of license plate designs in addition to the standard “tree” design that can often be seen on vehicles all over the valley.
The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles provided a breakdown of the number of license plates sold based on design for the year 2018. Corresponding with this is the amount of revenue generated from the sale of each of these plates.
The premium fees vary by design from plate to plate. For example, the Crater Lake and Cultural Trust designs cost $15 extra per plate. According to data provided by the Oregon DMV, the plate design with the highest number of units sold is Pacific Wonderland. This design was issued 14,546 times in 2018 and generated $1,256,342 in transferred revenue. Proceeds from this design’s sales, first issued on March 1, 2010, go to the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon State Capitol Foundation.
The Crater Lake design, first issued in 2002, benefits the only national park in Oregon. Specifically, proceeds go to support the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center in addition to other park-related projects. The Cultural Trust design, first issued in 2003, delivers its revenue to the Oregon Cultural Trust, an organization aimed to preserve and fund the arts and the artists behind them.
Group plates are also among the specialty designs being offered in Oregon, some of the most issued designs include: Veteran’s Recognition (1998), Share the Road (2008) and Fallen Public Safety Officer (2010). Collectively, these plate designs have generated more than $202,000 of revenue.
Three new designs being offered for 2019 are Gray Whale, UO Ducks and Smokey Bear, the last of which will begin being issued on Aug. 1. No revenue data is available for these designs yet.
Regardless of the numerous and diverse amount of choices available for plate designs, the most widely issued license plate in 2018 was the standard “tree” design with 398,711 plates sold.