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The Department of Motor Vehicles in Oregon is a branch of the Department of Transportation. This department is responsible for keeping records and assisting in legal matters pertaining to motor vehicles.

The Department of Motor Vehicles manages the registration, titling, safety, and ownership of all motor vehicles across the state. All records regarding license plates for motor vehicles are also stored there. Not only does the Department of Motor Vehicles issue license plates, but the department also keeps track of historic plates, creates a plate manual, and updates the public if any changes are made to Oregon’s license plate system.

Types of License Plates in Oregon

The Department of Motor Vehicles has made several different types of license plate available. You can get generic plates for your passenger vehicle, or you can apply for a customized plate. There are also special plates reserved for people meeting certain qualifications such as disabled veterans, amateur radio operators, and owners of antique cars.

The following designs are available for custom plates:

  • Customized tree plate
  • Customized salmon plate
  • Customized Crater Lake plate
  • Customized cultural plate
  • Customized wine country plate
  • Customized trail blazers plate
  • Customized motorcycle or moped plate
  • Custom motor home plate
  • Trailer plate

License Plate Privacy in Oregon

Certain personal information regarding the owner of a vehicle is protected by state law. Only people who qualify (such as law enforcement officials) are able to perform a reverse license plate lookup. The general public does not have access to the name, street address, or contact information of the vehicle owner. All license plate information is also protected.

This is due to a law called the Oregon Record Privacy Law, which aims to protect private records being stored by the government.

If you’re an applicable entity — a member of an insurance company, a law enforcement official, or an attorney — you can apply for a license plate owner lookup. You’ll need to create a DMV Record Inquiry Account if you don’t have one already. The request will be submitted through this channel.

If you don’t qualify for information from the DMV, you can try using a third party database to find the registered owner of a vehicle. These online databases are operated by private companies rather than the government. Usually, they store millions of public and private records. You’ll probably need to pay a fee for use of the site, although this website allows you to do a plate search completely for free.

Your third party search isn’t guaranteed to turn up results. Even if it does, they may not be the most current information. Because of Oregon’s privacy laws, private companies aren’t always able to upload documentation for Oregon license plates to their databases.