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The Senate passed the bill creating the Oregon State Police on February 25, 1931, and the House approved it on March 1, 1931. The new Department began operations on August l, 1931. The new law consolidated under one head the law enforcement activities previously performed by the State Highway Commission, the Secretary of State, the Fish and Game Commission, the State Fire Marshal, and the Prohibition Commissioner.

In addition to enforcing the traffic laws, the game and fish codes, the laws relating to arson and fire prevention, and the prohibition and narcotic laws, the State Police were charged with the enforcement of all criminal laws throughout the State of Oregon.

The Department was created to serve as a rural patrol and to assist local law enforcement agencies, and consisted of 95 sworn police officers. In 1993, the Oregon Legislature approved legislation that included the formerly autonomous organizations of the Oregon State Fire Marshal ´s Office, Oregon Emergency Management, Law Enforcement Data System, and the Oregon Boxing and Wrestling Commission within the Department of State Police.

The purpose of the Patrol Services Division is to "provide a uniform police presence and law enforcement services throughout the state with a primary responsibility for traffic safety and response to emergency calls for service on Oregon's State and Interstate Highways".



License Plates of the Oregon State Police

From the inception of the Oregon State Police from 1931 until at least the mid-1960's, OSP patrol cars only displayed regular passenger car license plates of no particular number blocs on their patrol vehicles.

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Oregon  police car1948. Photo courtesy of Willie Brown


Passenger car license plates used on Oregon State Police vehicles from 1931 until the mid-1960's


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Photo courtesy of http://www.oregonplates.com/

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  • Oregon  police license plate image1956-1960 Publicly Owned issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Yellow over blue
    Need confirmation if this was the first non-passenger license plate used by Oregon State Police at that time.
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  • Oregon  police license plate image1961-1964 Publicly Owned issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Yellow over blue with slogan PACIFIC WONDERLAND.
    Need confirmation if this was a non-passenger license plate used by Oregon State Police.
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  • Oregon  police license plate image1965-1973 Publicly Owned issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Yellow over blue.
    Early five digit number.
    Need confirmation if this a non-passenger license plate used by Oregon State Police at that time.
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  • Oregon  police license plate image1965-1973 Publicly Owned issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Yellow over blue.
    Later six digit number with dash.
    Need confirmation if this a non-passenger license plate used by Oregon State Police at that time.
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  • Oregon  police license plate image
  • Oregon  police license plate image1965-1973 Publicly Owned issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Yellow over blue.
    Later six digit number with NO DASH.
    As with on-duty photo seen above.
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In 1974, Oregon PUBLICLY OWNED license plates kept the same format as the previous yellow over dark blue plates, but this time having dark blue embossed characters over reflective yellow-orange background.
These plates were used by the Oregon State Police well-into the 2000's.

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  • Oregon  police license plate image1974-2006 issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Dark blue over reflective yellow-orange.
    No reserved number bloc.
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Oregon  police car

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Oregon  police carCourtesy Darryl Lindsay

Oregon  police car

Oregon  police car

Oregon  police car
  • Oregon  police license plate image2006-Current issue. Embossed aluminum.The state name was placed at the top-center of the plate, and PUBLICLY OWNED embossed along bottom.
    Smaller number dies.
  • Oregon  police car2006-current issue. Larger number dies.
  • Oregon  police license plate image
  • Oregon  police license plate imageEmbossed steel license plate frame.
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Motorcycle License Plates of the Oregon State Police

The earliest known motorcycle that was used by the Oregon State Traffic Officers (prior to formation of OSP) was in 1925. A patrol motorcycle was photographed bearing the 1925 Oregon motorcycle license plate number Z-11.
The plate was embossed steel and measured approximately 4 1/2" x 8" and colored black over yellow.
These plates were issued in threes as two were mounted on either side of the front wheel and one at the rear.

There is no other information on OSP motorcycle use until the early 2000's when a standard 4" x 7" embossed aluminum license plate in dark blue over reflective yellow-orange was used. The plate had the state name embossed at the top center, the stacked prefix E9 embossed along the left margin followed by an embossed number up to five digits over the embossed word EXEMPT along the bottom center.

  • Oregon  police license plate imageCurrent issue Oregon State Police motorcycle issue.
  • Oregon  police car



Specialty issues

There were very few special issue license plates for the Oregon State Police.

  • Oregon  police license plate image1993 National Troopers Coalition conference "souvenir" license plate based on current passenger car license plate layout.
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