On Oct. 13, Barile launched the Kickstarter to fund the creation of a license plate that would combine both the old PDX airport carpet design and Terry Currier's famous "Keep Portland Weird" slogan.
The Kickstarter promised that a $50 donation would get you a prepaid certificate for the Oregon DMV specialty license plate surcharge and a 3″ x 6″ sticker of the license plate with the word "WEIRD" on it. Barile pledged to donate proceeds from the license plate to the Regional Arts & Culture Council and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
But on Oct. 21, the Oregon DOJ issued a cease-and-decease order, saying that Barile did not comply with the state law when he neglected to apply for a new plate with the DMV, who provided him with information on state requirements to launch the plate months ago. The DMV says it has not received an application from any organization to apply for a "Keep Portland Weird" plate.
"I am quite surprised at the cease-and-desist," Barile told WW in an email. He is currently on vacation in Mexico. "I have been in contact with the DMV about this project for about 15 months."
He also wrote that the DMV has already seen the preliminary artwork for the license plate and know that he's contracted with the nonprofit the Regional Arts Council to be the contact for the project.
"I am especially surprised that this is the first communication that I received from either the DOJ or the DMV. Had they contacted me with concerns, I would've been happy to make any changes on the Kickstarter project page that they felt were important," Barile writes. "In fact, I made a couple of changes for clarification on the Kickstarter project page as a good faith effort."
On the Kickstarter, he wrote that the design and specs were still pending approval, and if for whatever reason, the DMV does not release the plate, he would refund money, except for the the bank charges and postal fees, which are about $5.
"I have no plans on taking down the Kickstarter project since I've done nothing wrong and all of their accusations are incorrect," Barile writes. "Kickstarter has been around long enough for people to understand that a Kickstarter project is the fundraising step of a project and in no way misleads people into thinking that a project is already completed. Any other interpretation is a rather absurd assertion."
It appears that one of the issues is that the state requires a $5,000 approval fee and for the plate design to be approved before pre-sale, while Barile says he was planning to take those steps after the Kickstarter was funded.
"Oregon statutes and rules require the sponsor of a new special plate to meet the following requirements before selling vouchers through any marketing effort, including an online Kickstarter campaign," according to the Department of Transportation.
These requirements include the sponsor of a new special plate must qualify as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and comply with pre-approval process steps before submitting an Application for Approval for a Special Registration Plate, submitting a $5,000 pre-approval fee and having the plate design approved before pre-sale.
These are steps the DMV and DOJ say Barile did not take.
Barile says he plans to take those steps once the Kickstarter gets funded:
The first step of the DMV process requires a nonprofit to submit an application for a new license plate which costs $5000. When the project funds then the already filled out application will be turned into the DMV, with all their requirements for this step completed. If the application is accepted by the DMV then they provide the nonprofit with 3100 vouchers. These are the vouchers that will be sent to the KickStarter supporters.
Barile says the Kickstarter project exists to see if there is enough interest in the license plate.
"The DMV may not like the idea of using Kickstarter to fund a specialty license plate project; that does make it a violation of any law nor is it a reason for the DOJ's and DMV's rash actions or poor behavior," he writes. "Furthermore, acting as if you do not understand how Kickstarter works is no excuse."
Barile wrote an update on the Kickstarter this morning, letting backers know that he has no intention of taking the project down. He concludes the message by writing, "PS this reminds me a little bit of a TV show that they make here in Portland :-)"
The Kickstarter currently has 91 backers who have pledged $5,057 of the $155,000 goal.