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Release of Oregon Coast Whale License Plates Dependent on Public

Published 11/05/2017 at 4:47 PM PDT - Updated 11/05/2017 at 4:57 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Release of Oregon Coast Whale License Plates Depends on Public

(Newport, Oregon) – If you've ever wanted one of the much-anticipated Oregon license plates with a whale on them, here is your chance. In fact, the release and implementation of the license plates is dependent on the public.

Oregonians can now purchase a voucher for the new license plate that features a gray whale and her calf, but Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) won't begin producing them until 3,000 vouchers have been sold. The cost is $40, and the vouchers can be purchased at whaleplate.com.

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Producing the plates will take approximately 12 weeks, and purchasers will be notified when their vouchers may be redeemed at DMV offices.

The proceeds of the plates to support the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, based out of Newport, on the central Oregon coast. The program will get $35 for each pair of license plates sold. The money will directly support whale research, graduate student education and public outreach, according to Bruce Mate, who directs the institute.

“Since we first announced the program in December 2016, we’ve heard a lot of enthusiastic support for the design of the plates and the concept of supporting whale conservation,” Mate said. “We hope a lot of Oregonians will embrace the phrase 'put a whale on your tail' and purchase license plates for their vehicles.”

The plates have strong support from public officials and the Oregon Legislature, with leadership from Rep. David Gomberg of District 10 on the central Oregon coast, who has endorsed the idea for several legislative sessions.

Dr. Mate is one of the more recognized whale experts in the world, known for pioneering the tracking of whales by satellite. In 2006, the Marine Mammal Institute was established at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, the expanded version of the program he created in the '70s at OSU.

Mate's work was a focus of the 2009 documentary, “Kingdom of the Blue Whale,” which became the most widely viewed documentary on the National Geographic Channel, and whale genetics research done by the institute's Scott Baker was featured in the documentary “The Cove.” Researchers also worked on whale issues after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The institute's most high-profile public face is the training of volunteers for the “Whale Watch Spoken Here” program, which annually helps up to 40,000 tourists spot migrating gray whales during winter and spring breaks.

Design of the Oregon license plate was done by well-known wildlife illustrator Pieter Folkens, who originally created the image for a poster. Aside from the whale and calf, in the upper left corner is a lighthouse, and across the bottom it reads “Coastal Playground.” Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

For more information on the Marine Mammal Institute, go to: https://mmi.oregonstate.edu/ . More on Oregon coast and its whales below:

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