We are celebrating one year of the Oregon gray whale license plate!

You can be one of the nearly 10,000 Oregonians who are already supporting Oregon marine mammal research by purchasing and renewing a Coastal Playground license plate. These special plates are available at all Oregon DMV branches.

The license plate, which features the image of a gray whale mother and her calf, went on sale at Oregon Department of Motor Vehicle offices on February 1, 2019. The plates cost $40 to order or renew, with approximately $35 of each sale going to OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. 

Because these funds are generated through sales of Oregon license plates, the Marine Mammal Institute is committed to using the proceeds to support Oregon-focused projects that emphasize education, outreach, and research.

We deeply appreciate your support!

Revenue from Coastal Playground license plate sales is directly supporting a research project to monitor the health of Oregon’s “summer resident” gray whales.

Gray whale license plate sales are providing the funding to continue monitoring gray whales off the coast of Port Orford in summer 2020.

License plate funds are allowing the purchase of critical equipment and providing training opportunities for MMI staff to respond to local whale entanglements under the guidance of NOAA Fisheries.

About the Design

Renowned wildlife illustrator Pieter Folkens created the lifelike image depicting the gray whale cow and calf that appears on the license plates. Emmy-award winning graphic artist Pete McKeeman added a two-toned background representing the sea and sky and highlighting a coastal lighthouse in the upper left corner. The bottom inscription reads “Coastal Playground,” reflecting the importance of the coast to marine animals and to coastal tourism.

License Plate FAQ

  • Take your original paper voucher to any Oregon DMV location to redeem it for your plates. You will need to complete the appropriate DMV form(s) and pay registration and other fees due (see section below or contact the DMV for details). 
  • Your purchase of a voucher is a transaction between you and the Marine Mammal Institute. If your voucher is lost, stolen, or damaged, contact the MMI for a replacement.
  • 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.
  • Good news! You can go into any Oregon DMV branch to purchase your plates. You may also be able to purchase a plate by mail. Contact the DMV for details.

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: $24.50 for the pair
Plate replacement fee: $5
Registration renewal: Please see the DMV website for details.
Total: Please see the DMV website for details.

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: $24.50 for the pair
Plate replacement fee: $10
Total: $74.50 (registration and renewal fees due prior to sticker expiration)

Yes! Like other Oregon license plates, the gray whale license plate may be customized for an additional DMV charge. Please inquire with the DMV about the application process.
Yes, you can maintain your current custom 6-character configuration on a whale plate, for an additional DMV charge. Applications for replacement custom plates are accepted at the DMV.
Souvenir plates are not available. Whale plates are only available with passenger vehicles registered in the State of Oregon. 
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.