Salmon License Plate

Show Your Support
for Oregon Salmon!

Oregon’s Salmon License Plates

Investing in Salmon Recovery

Salmon have great cultural, economic, and recreational importance to Oregonians. When you buy a Salmon License plate, you are investing in salmon recovery. Since 1998, the Salmon Plate has raised money for the protection and restoration of salmon habitat in Oregon.

The “NEW” Salmon License Plate

The Salmon License plate was redesigned in 2020 and is available for passenger vehicles through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) beginning September 1, 2021. Information on fees and how to apply for the plate is available on the DMV website for new vehicles or for renewals/replacements.

The “CLASSIC” Salmon Plate

The Classic Salmon Plate is ONLY available through August 31st, 2021 (see sample below). On September 1st, 2021, there will be a hard switch-over to the NEW Salmon Plate design. However, you can keep your classic plate and your registration fees will continue to support salmon habitat.

Classic Oregon Salmon License Plate

How Does it Work?

Who benefits from the Salmon license plate?

When you buy a Salmon license plate, you are investing in salmon recovery. Funds generated from the Salmon plate surcharge are invested in activities that protect or restore native salmon habitat throughout the state by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

How much does the Salmon license plate cost?

In addition to regular title, registration, and plate fees, the specialty Salmon plate has a surcharge at original issuance and at each registration renewal. For original issuance on a used vehicle (already titled in Oregon or another state) the surcharge is $30.00. For original issuance on a brand new vehicle, the surcharge is $60.00. In addition, there is a $30.00 surcharge at each subsequent renewal. This is a great investment as all funding received from the plates is used for salmon habitat projects across Oregon.

Can I customize my Salmon license plate?

Yes! Like other Oregon license plates, the Salmon plate may be customized for an additional DMV charge.

Can I transfer my current custom plate configuration to a Salmon license plate?

Yes, you will be able to maintain your current custom configuration on a Salmon plate for an additional DMV charge.

I do not live in or have a registered vehicle in the state of Oregon. Can I purchase a souvenir plate?

Sadly, no. Salmon plates are only available with passenger vehicles registered in the State or Oregon. Souvenir or samples plates are not available.

How do I secure a low number plate?

The Oregon Conservation Partnership is partnering with habitat-related nonprofit organizations to auction off spots on the Salmon Plate VIP List for low numbers SM 00001 through SM 00020 using eBay. Find more auction information under the Join the Salmon Plate VIP List section of this website.

When will the new Salmon license plate be available?

New plates will be available September 1, 2021, but when you apply and where you apply for your new plate matters!

Apply at DMV Field Offices or online at DMV2U:

  • If you apply on or BEFORE August 31, 2021 in a DMV field office or online at DMV2U, you will receive the Classic Salmon Plate.
  • If you apply on or AFTER September 1, 2021 in a DMV field office or online at DMV2U, you will receive the New Salmon license plate.

Apply by Mail or at Dealership when you purchase a new vehicle:

  • If you apply by mail or at a dealership when you purchase a new vehicle, the plate design you receive will be based on when DMV processes your transaction. With the current 3-4 month backlog, it is difficult to establish a cutover date for mailed or dealership transactions.
  • The only way to guarantee that you will receive a Classic Salmon Plate is to apply in a DMV field office or online at DMV2U on or before August 31, 2021.

I already have a Classic Salmon Plate, can I keep it?

Yes! Your current salmon plate will remain valid for as long as you continue to renew registration. You do not need to replace your plate with the new design.

If you already have a vehicle with a Classic Salmon Plate you can keep it and renew it like you have in past years. You can also transfer your Classic Salmon Plate to another vehicle if you want. You will just need to pay the plate transfer fee. Your renewal surcharge will go to the same Salmon plate fund and will be used for the same salmon recovery projects as the new plates.

I prefer the Classic Salmon Plate, can I still get one?

Yes! The Classic Salmon Plate will be available, BUT ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME! Classic Salmon Plates will be available until August 31, 2021, but when you apply and where you apply for your new plate matters! The only way to guarantee that you will receive a Classic Salmon Plate is to apply in a DMV field office or online at DMV2U on or before August 31, 2021.

Apply at DMV Field Offices or online at DMV2U:

  • If you apply on or BEFORE August 31, 2021 in a DMV field office or online at DMV2U, you will receive the Classic Salmon Plate.
  • If you apply on or AFTER September 1, 2021 in a DMV field office or online at DMV2U, you will receive the New Salmon license plate.

Apply by Mail or at Dealership when you purchase a new vehicle:

  • If you apply by mail or at a dealership when you purchase a new vehicle, the plate design you receive will be based on when DMV processes your transaction. With the current 3-4 month backlog, it is difficult to establish a cutover date for mailed or dealership transactions.

Who created the artwork for the NEW salmon license plate?

Gretchen Kirchner, an amateur artist and former graphic designer for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, created the artwork for the new Salmon License plate. Gretchen used watercolor pencil for the original artwork and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to idealize it for plate usage. Her challenge was to create a beautiful and realistic portrayal of salmon native to Oregon while also meeting the design requirements for a license plate. She examined many photographs and consulted with OWEB’s biologist to perfect each detail, from the colors to the adipose fin. While currently residing in Idaho, Gretchen lived in Oregon for 16 years and found artistic inspiration from her explorations of Oregon’s beaches, forests, mountains, and valleys.

Join the Salmon Plate VIP List

To launch the new Salmon License plate, the Oregon Conservation Partnership (ORCP) is partnering with other Oregon nonprofits to raise funds for salmon recovery by hosting a Salmon Plate VIP List auction.

ORCP’s broad network of members and their shared commitment to the protection and restoration of Oregon’s native salmon habitat make them an ideal partner!

Oregon Conservation Partnership

Public Auction for Low-Number Plates

Members of the public can bid on low number spots on the VIP List for plate numbers SM 00001 through SM 00020.

The Proceeds from the auction will benefit statewide nonprofit organizations who strongly support on-the-ground salmon recovery in Oregon. Each bidder can designate the organization from amongst the list of identified non-profits that will receive their donation should they secure the winning bid.

When and where is the auction?

The Salmon Plate VIP List Auction will open for bids on Tuesday July 20th, 2021. All bids must be received by 6:00am on Friday July 30th, 2021 to be considered. Eligible bidders can access the auction site on eBay.

Who is eligible to bid in the auction?

To participate in the Salmon Plate VIP List auction, bidders must:

  • Qualify for Oregon vehicle registration
  • Have the plate issued to a passenger vehicle
  • Note that Salmon License plates cannot be bid on or purchased if they will not be used on a passenger vehicle

How will auction winners be notified?

Auction winners will be notified shortly after the auction closes on July 30th, 2021. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) will follow-up with each auction winner by August 13th, 2021 to collect the information needed to secure their low number spot on the Salmon Plate VIP List. Information to be collected includes the winner’s name, address, license and vehicle information. The DMV will use the information to calculate license plate registration fees for each vehicle. Once fees are determined, OWEB will work with each winner to complete the necessary application materials and collect registration fees by October 15, 2021.

Which nonprofit organizations will benefit from the Salmon Plate VIP List auction?

Donated funds obtained through the Salmon Plate VIP List auction will be designated to one or more of the organizations listed below. The eBay auction is being hosted by the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts on behalf of the other nonprofits; however, each auction winner will be contacted by OWEB after the auction closes and asked to select one of the listed organizations to receive their donation. These statewide organizations will report their use of funds to OWEB to be shared publicly.

  • Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts
  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
  • Native Fish Society
  • Network of Oregon Watershed Councils
  • Northwest Steelheaders
  • Oregon Association of Conservation Districts
  • Oregon Conservation Education and Assistance Network (OCEAN)
  • Sustainable Northwest
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Wild Salmon Center
  • Willamette Partnership