How to Request Public Records in Oregon.

The Basics.

There are no magic words to request public records.  Generally, you must (1) describe the records sought and (2) tell the public body if you want to review the records in person or, if not, where to send the records and whether you want electronic or paper copies.

The more specifically one describes the records, the better the outcome (faster response and lower cost) and the less burden on the agency.  For example, if a person asks for “any and all records on logging in the Tillamook State Forest,” the agency will need to consider ALL records going back decades.  On the other hand, if the requester asks for “records showing money earned from logging operations in the Tillamook State Forest from 2014 to date,” odds are the agency will provide the records faster and cheaper.

If you want to speed the process, you can state if you are willing to pay more than $25 for the records, so the public body need not check with you if the cost exceeds $25.  For example, just add, “I am willing to pay the actual and reasonable cost to produce the records up to $100.”

If you want the public body to waive or reduce fees, explain why producing the records is in the public interest or any other reason why the public body should not charge you.  (See, costs page.)

Check with the Specific Public Body.

Public bodies should have public records policies.  Many have online request forms.   So, check before writing your own letter.  Examples include:

© 2017 by Jeff Merrick