Oregon Public Records Law

Oregon’s Public Records Law tells pubic bodies what records it must keep and what records it must provide upon request.  People agree on the goals: citizens should know what our government is doing and why, researchers should have access to public information, and business should employ public data to benefit their consumers, investors and the public.

In practice, it is more complicated because government holds a vast amount of information.  Exceptions to the rule of disclosure include personal medical information of Medicaid recipients, records of undercover law enforcement vehicles, and the location of endangered species.  Oregon’s Attorney General has cataloged more than 550 “exemptions.”

I believe it is important for the public to understand their rights and for agencies to understand their duties with respect to public records.  So, I created this resource.

Table of Contents

Part one:  The Law as of 2018.

1.     What is a Public Record?

2.     How much does it cost to get public records?

3.     How do I request public records in Oregon?

4.     When and how must the public body respond?

5.     Disagreements between Requester and Public Body:

Mediation (or “facilitated dispute resolution”)

Appeal and Lawsuit

Part Two:  Recent Developments in Oregon Public Records Law.

6.     Oregon Public Records Law Problems and Responses, 2014 – 2016.

7.     2017 Action on Oregon’s Public Records Law:

Part 1:  Public Records Advocate and Council

Part 2:  Laws Addressing Exemptions

Part 3:  Data and Chief Data Officer

Part 4:  State Archivist Training and Mediation


© 2017 by Jeff Merrick