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Oregon Orders Man To Stop Marketing ‘Keep Portland Weird’ License Plate Idea

The Oregon Department of Justice has issued a cease-and-desist order against a man trying to create a “Keep Portland Weird” license plate.

Portland man Steve Barile launched a crowdfunding campaign for the license plate last week. He said it would serve as a compliment to existing "historic plates, old-fashioned plates, plates that celebrate our beautiful landscape and wildlife."

“The new license plate design combines Terry Currier’s ‘Keep Portland Weird’ slogan and a graphic design inspired by the old Portland airport carpet,” Barile said in a Kickstarter video for the plate.

Oregon officials say Barile failed to follow the correct procedure for creating a new license plate.

Oregon law requires anyone launching a new plate to first register as a non-profit organization, and to submit designs to the DMV for approval before marketing the plate.

The Justice Department says Barile has not complied with those rules.

“Our main concern at this point is that potential backers may assume the application has been filed by a qualified non-profit organization, and that the plate design has been approved for production if the organizer meets his funding goal,” DMV Administrator Tom McClellan said in a press release Friday.

Barile could not immediately be reached for comment. But his crowdfunding campaign says he would like to donate proceeds from the license plate to the Regional Arts & Culture Council and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

In addition to his license plate project, Barile runs an online business that sells bulk quantities of Lego bricks.

The license plate designer states on his Kickstarter page that he will refund donors if the project fails to materialize.

"Please note that if for some weird (no pun intended) reason the Oregon DMV does not release this license plate," Barile wrote, "your money will be refunded by me minus the bank charges and postal fees, which total around $5."

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ryan Haas has been with Oregon Public Broadcasting since 2013. His work has won numerous awards, including two National Magazine Award nominations for the podcast "Bundyville." Prior to working at OPB, Haas worked at newspapers in Illinois, Florida, Oregon and the Caribbean.