License plate shortage will require Auditor Licensing Services and Subagents to issue paper plates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, July 28, 2021 

Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor 
711 Washington Relay 

License plate shortage will require Auditor Licensing Services and Subagents to issue paper plates

OLYMPIA – Due to a statewide license plate shortage, the Thurston County Auditor’s Office and eight licensing subagents will issue passenger vehicle licensing customers temporary paper permits. 

The paper permits will be good for 60 days and can be displayed the same way temporary plates are displayed when purchasing a car from a dealer. Licensing customers will also be issued tabs that they can attach to their metal plates once they are available.  

The shortage is only impacting passenger vehicle licensing customers. Truck, trailer and motorcycles licensing customers are not impacted. 

Licensing subagents are private businesses overseen by the County Auditor’s Office. They provide vehicle and vessel licensing services in communities across Thurston County. 

Department of Corrections (DOC) license plate production slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In reaction, DOC increased staffing and outsourced production to another state beginning on July 31. 

Despite those steps, the state Department of Licensing, which oversees vehicle and vessel licensing statewide, has not communicated when the license plate supply chain will be restored. “While we haven’t heard for certain when metal plates will be available, we hope our customers are patient while we work through this,” said Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor. 

“The state has instructed us to prioritize car dealership transactions for our small remaining inventory of metal plates,” Hall said. “We’ll work with customers to get them their metal plates as soon as they are available.” 

For more information on licensing services in Thurston County, and to find a list of subagents, go to:


By Guest Contributor

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