Statutory Citation: O.R.S. 192.410 et seq.

Definition of Public Record

The ORS 192.410(4)(a) says that a public record includes any writing that contains information that relates to the conduct of the public’s business, is prepared, owned, used or maintained by a public body regardless of physical form or characteristics. If a record (a) does not relate to the conduct of the public’s business and (b) is contained on a privately owned computer”, then it is not a public record as defined in the law. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: Records less than 75 years old containing information on the health care treatment of a living individual; impending litigation; trade secrets; criminal investigation materials; testing materials; real estate appraisals; personnel disciplinary action; and computer programs. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

Timeframe not specified.

Information on Fees

Fees must be kept to the actual costs of searching for and copying records. If the fee will exceed $25 the agency must first give you an estimate and ask if you want to proceed. 3

Enforcement Mechanisms

The Attorney General’s role in enforcing the Public Records Law varies depending upon the circumstance. A person challenging the denial of a records request to a state agency (but not an elected official) can seek review from the Attorney General. ORS 192.411(1) (formerly ORS 192.450). If the Attorney General determines that the requested records should not be disclosed and the requestor seeks judicial review of that determination, the Attorney General will serve as counsel for the state agency. ORS 192.411(3). (see) The 2017 Legislature created the office of the Public Records Advocate. ORS 192.461-192.475. The Public Records Advocate’s role is to “provide facilitated dispute resolution services” when requested by either a requestor of public records held by a state agency or by the state agency itself. ORS 192.464. 4

Attorney Fees

Reasonable attorney’s fees can be won if the requestor wins the case. Even if the victory is only in part, attorney’s fees can still be awarded at the discretion of the court. If an agency fails to comply with an Attorney General order to release documents within seven days, attorney’s fees will also be awarded even before any litigation in court. 5

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at info@goldwaterinstitute.org to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

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