Has Portland gone license-plates-optional?

Is it just my neighborhood, or is the whole City of Portland seeing the sudden appearance of unusual numbers of cars, vans, and trucks on the streets with no license plates? And I'm not talking about the old Pennsylvana look, with a plate on the back only. I'm talking about no plates, front or back, and no temporary card in the window, either.

And it's usually some younger dude behind the wheel.

Are these vehicles stolen? Are they being used to commit crimes? Are the drivers dodging a repo man? Is someone stealing the plates?

And how come nobody's stopping these vehicles?

Okay, I take back that last question; the answer is obvious. Nobody's stopping them because the Portland police can't be bothered with anything like traffic safety enforcement any more. When was the last time you saw a Portland cop giving someone a traffic citation? Three years ago?  Five years? It's one of many, many things the police bureau used to do, but can't or won't do any more.

Then City Hall wonders why traffic fatalities are up. Get a clue.

And the average person is noticing the lack of enforcement. For example, there's been some drama on our block lately, and that's gotten a lot of the neighbors out in front of their houses talking. I've chatted with about a dozen over the last week or two. Some I know pretty well; others I couldn't tell you their name. But every single one said the same thing: "Don't bother calling the cops. They won't do anything."

Maybe they should adopt that as the new police bureau motto.


  1. A pal from law school had his 1977 Mercedes stolen a few weeks ago. The car wasn't worth much, but he loved it. He drove by the Shell at NE 33rd and Broadway and one of your "younger dudes" was filling up the tank of the beloved car, so law-school pal pulled into the station to call the guy out. Sparks commenced (thankfully only figuratively) and the guy pulled out an unopened pocket-style knife in order to scare off law-school pal who stood his ground. Station employees called the cops and the younger dude was hauled away. Car had all kinds of BS damage done to it including an Eff the Cops sprayed on the back. What a looooser and what a city.

  2. I think the car thieves have figured out a scam within the pandemic. The DMV will give you an extra 6+ months to register a car or renew your tags due to the difficulty getting paperwork processed at the DMV during the pandemic. The thieves can drive around without tags, trip permits, or plates without drawing the attention of the police. Yesterday, I had the misfortune of being behind an older accord with a trip permit that expired last Sept and no plate. Based on the horrendous way she was driving, she certainly was not worried about being pulled over for lack of proper registration.


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