SALEM, Oregon – Oregonians will soon have a choice about how they display their support for salmon habitat. A new salmon license plate design will be available September 1st, or Oregonians can opt for the classic salmon license plate until August. Lowest-numbered new plates will be available through a special auction in cooperation with Oregon nonprofits that support salmon habitat restoration.
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department first debuted the salmon plate in 1998. Revenue from the specialty plate protects and restores native salmon habitat. To date over $8 million of salmon plate funding has been invested in Oregon.
“When coupled with voter-dedicated investments from the state’s Lottery, this plate allows salmon supporters to show their true colors and invest in a worthwhile cause – healthy salmon habitat,” says Meta Loftsgaarden, Executive Director of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
The original plate was one of the earliest custom designs available in Oregon, and the new design is a colorful upgrade, showing spawning salmon in a clear, cool stream. The new art was created by Gretchen Kirchner, an amateur artist and former graphic designer for Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. The public can continue to order the classic plate design before they retire in August and can keep the classic plates on their car if they choose, while still supporting habitat projects.
To launch the new salmon license plate, the Oregon Conservation Partnership (ORCP) is hosting a Salmon Plate VIP List Auction using eBay. On July 20, 2021, members of the public can go to https://www.ebay.com/ and search for “Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts Salmon License Plate.” The auction allows bidders to secure low number spots on the VIP list for plate numbers SM 00001 through SM 00020 when the new plates are released. Bids must be placed by 5:00pm on July 30, 2021 to be eligible. Proceeds from the auction will benefit statewide nonprofit organizations who strongly support on-the-ground salmon recovery in Oregon.
The new plates will be available for passenger vehicles through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) beginning September 1, 2021, but when and how Oregonians apply for the new plate matters. To guarantee landing the new salmon plate design, vehicle owners need to apply in person, online at DMV2U, or by mail on or AFTER September 1, 2021. Orders online or in person before August 31, 2021 will receive the classic plate.
More information about the new Salmon License plate, and auction rules and eligibility, is available at orsalmonplates.com. Registration fees and ordering information are available on the DMV website at https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/Vehicle/index.aspx.