Oregon License Plates 1969-present

OR 69 #5V-8309
Oregon 1969 passenger issue. The "Pacific Wonderland" baseplate was introduced in 1960 and marked the only appearance of a slogan on standard-issue Oregon plates. These plates used a 1A-2345 serial format which was introduced on the previous 1956 baseplate. The letter on the plate indicates the month of expiration, with A-M used for January through December on the 1956 base and N-Z used for the same months on the 1960 base. These plates were issued through 1964 and can still be seen today with proper stickers, provided they have been in continuous use on the original vehicle.
OR 69 #MAQ 623
Oregon 1969 passenger issue. This baseplate was first introduced in 1964 and was issued through 1974. Again, these plates can still be seen in use on their original vehicle. The first letter of these plates indicated the month of expiration, in order so that "L" indicated November. This system was used until around 1988, when the state ran out of combinations and letters above "M" (December exp.) were used in the first position. This motorist got the "69" sticker upside-down, which actually doesn't matter much as it happens.
OR 75 #MHQ 679
Oregon 1975 passenger issue. This blue on orange baseplate succeeded the previous gold-on-blue issues and was issued from 1975 until 1988. This base continued the series of the first letter indicating month of expiration, with "M" plates again falling in December.
OR 80 #BMQ 512
Oregon 1980 passenger issue. Continuation of the the orange baseplate, later issues of this plate adopted a different state name die. This change can most easily be identified by a change to the "G" character in the state name, with the original die being more pointed top and bottom (see 1975 plate) and the revised version more rounded.
OR 86 #BTQ 148
Oregon 1986 passenger issue. Continuation of the blue on orange baseplate. In 1983, the state of Oregon put their plate production contract out to bid and the infamous Polyvend Corporation in Arkansas got the contract to produce new plates. Polyvend produced these plates using an alternate die set, actually quite similar to pre-1976 Hawaii dies. Probably not coincidentally, some blocks of Hawaii plates on their 1981 and 1991 baseplates also feature these dies. These Polyvend plates were not as of high quality (surprise!) as the "standard" Oregon plates made by Irwin-Hodson and did not hold up well over time.
OR 87 #NBQ 498
Oregon 1987 passenger issue. When the state reached the end of the available combinations with A-M as the first character to indicate the month of expiration, they started a new series of plates with no embossed expiration month or codes on the plate. This series started at NAA-001, with the first part of the series manufactured by Polyvend using the alternate (Hawaii) die set as seen on the previous plate. These plates used month stickers in place of the embossed month. These stickers were odd in that they were too wide to fit in the space allotted.
OR 90 #NXF 901
Oregon 1990 passenger issue. Another of the late-issue blue-on-orange plates without the embossed month. Polyvend apparently couldn't produce enough plates in this series in time to meet the state's needs, so the later part of the "N" series of orange plates was produced by Irwin-Hodson once again, reverting back to the predominant Oregon dies of the timeframe. Irwin-Hodson produced Oregon plates from the NLA series through the end of this base at the PDM series. This plate also shows the excess width of the month sticker, as it extends over one of the lower bolt holes on the plate.
OR 91 #QHA 104
Oregon 1991 passenger issue. This graphic, introduced with the "PDN" series in 1988, depicted a Douglas fir and a mountain skyline. It was thought by many to be hard to make out and generally drab, some people claiming that the tree looked dead. The base was re-designed in 1990 and remains in use today in the redesigned format. I've always kind of liked this one better, to tell the truth. Despite the controversy, this plate was awarded ALPCA's Plate of the Year award in 1988.
OR 91 #QLV 798
Oregon 1991 passenger issue. Another "dead tree" issue, this shows the re-designed month sticker used since late 1990 to address the issue of the old stickers being too wide. This style sticker is still used today, with sticker colors changed quarterly as follows: White on Red (January through March), White on Green (April through June), Black on White (July through September) and White on Blue (October through December).
OR 92 #QQQ 548
Oregon 1992 passenger issue. This is the 1990 redesign of the '88 tree plate, with the colors changed and darkened up. This base remains in use today.
OR 05 #ZPQ 746
Oregon 2005 passenger issue. Production of Oregon plates shifted from Irwin-Hodson to Waldale, Ltd. of Nova Scotia in 2003, apparently starting at the "ZPN" series of the ABC-123 format. The Waldale plates are quite similar to the I-H plates, with only a few distinct features (for example, minor variations in the shape and tail of the "Q" character between this plate and the one above). Production will likely switch back to I-H in the future, as the public was not pleased to have awarded the contract to an out-of-state (as well as, gasp!, out-of-country) vendor.
OR 08 #976 BEQ
Oregon 2008 passenger issue. Since 2004, after the ZZZ series was exhausted, new plates are being produced in a reversed 123-ABC format, starting with "BAA" to avoid conflicting with previous Axx series plates issued on the optional Oregon Trail base. These plates are still produced by Waldale, which may become a moot point in the near future as the two companies are rumored to be merging.
OR 09 #526 BQU
Oregon 2009 passenger issue. In 2005, starting around the start of the BPA series, production of Oregon plates was shifted back to Irwin-Hodson's in-state facility. This move signaled a change back to the original Irwin-Hodson die set on Oregon plates, making them essentially identical to the ones produced prior to the Waldale contract in 2003. No official word from either company, but the production shift was almost certainly due to a merger between Waldale and Irwin-Hodson.

Additional Oregon information provided by: Andy DeCeunynck, Robert Meyers, Dale Jacobsen, Pete Madsen

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© Copyright 1998-2014 David Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

Last Modified 11/26/2009 (replaced 1976 plate with 1975 plate).