MERLIN, Ore. — A Merlin family has been ordered to turn in the vanity license plates for their cars because the state finds their Dutch name can be interpreted as offensive.
The plates, UDINK1 UDINK2 and UDINK3 are on the vehicles of Mike and Shelly Udink and their son Kalei.
Two of the plates are 5 and 7 years old. One was issued last year.
Last summer Kawika Udink's application for Udink4 was rejected and the state ordered the other three plates returned.
The plates are now invalid and the 90-day temporary registrations sent to the family in June are also likely expired, according to David House, spokesman for the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division.
The plates were deemed offensive by a 10-person DMV panel that approves custom, or "vanity" plates, which cost an extra $80.
House, who serves on the panel, said the reasons were the sexual references that can be associated with the name, which can be treated as a verb.
"DINK has several derogatory meanings," wrote panel member Yvonne Bell. She said it also can be a racial slur, especially toward Vietnamese.
House said the "U" in the front could be construed as "You."
It seems unreal to Mike Udink, whose name is Dutch. He says it is a common name in the Netherlands.
"Since when can a panel dictate whether your name's offensive or not?" asked Udink, a lineman for Pacific Power.