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Clackamas County Policy and Procedure for Public Records Requests

  1. Purpose and Application

    It is the policy of Clackamas County to respond in an orderly, consistent and reasonable manner in accordance with the Oregon Public Records Law to requests to inspect or receive copies of public records maintained by Clackamas County.

  2. Policy and Procedure

    1. Many public record requests are made orally and are simultaneously satisfied in the normal course of business. This procedure is not intended to replace established departmental procedures of this kind. However, each written request will receive a written response.

    2. Providing Documents; Written Requests

      Upon request, all County offices shall provide accurate and timely records and information as required by law. When multiple records are requested or a specific record is difficult to compile, calculate or retrieve from archived files, a written request may be required, specifically identifying or describing the requested record. Persons are encouraged to use the standard Clackamas County Public Records Request Form. This form is attached hereto, and can also be accessed online at Other forms of written requests will be accepted if all the information required on the standard form is provided.

    3. Records Custodian

      Each County department has a designated Records Custodian. The name and address of each custodian is listed in the attached table, entitled Clackamas County Public Records Contact List, and can also be accessed online at All records requests must be made to the designated records custodian.

    4. Dating Receipt of Written Requests

      Written requests must bear the date received by the County office. A date stamp should be affixed to the request by the receiving office.

    5. Acknowledging a written Request; ORS 192.440(2)

      The County shall provide a response acknowledging receipt of the written request as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay. The County may request additional information or clarification from the requester for the purpose of expediting its response to the request. The response must include one of the following:

      1. A statement that the County does not possess, or is not custodian of, the requested public record.

      2. Copies of all requested public records for which the County does not claim an exemption from disclosure under ORS 192.410 to 192.505.

      3. A statement that the County is the custodian of at least some of the requested public records, an estimate of the time the County requires before the public records may be inspected or copies of the records will be provided, and an estimate of the fees the requestor must pay as a condition of receiving the public records.

      4. A statement that the County is the custodian of at least some of the requested public records and that an estimate of the time and fees for disclosure will be provided within a reasonable time.

      5. A statement that the County is uncertain whether it possesses the public record, and that a search for the record will be conducted and an appropriate response will be made as soon as practicable.

      6. A statement that state or federal law prohibits the County from acknowledging whether the record exists or that acknowledging whether the record exists would result in the loss of federal benefits or other sanction. This statement must include a citation to the state or federal law relied upon by the County.

    6. Only Copies Will be Provided

      Copies of records shall be provided and not original records. Original documents will not be released except and unless a specific court order directs a County office to provide an original document to the court.

    7. Charges Not to Exceed Reasonable Calculation ofActual Costs

      County staff time and materials used to comply with requests for records or to summarize, compile or tailor records to meet a specific request will be charged at an amount reasonably calculated to reimburse the County for the actual cost to the County for employee time and materials. The County shall not charge more than a reasonable calculation of the actual costs to respond to the request. ORS 192.440(4)(a).

    8. County to Provide Advance Written Cost Estimate for Charges Over $25

      Charges that exceed $25 will only be required after an advance written cost estimate is provided to the requestor. The written cost estimate should also notify the requestor that the County is authorized by law to require payment of actual costs even if the County fails to locate any responsive records, and even if the records found turn out to be entirely exempt from disclosure. The County has authority to charge a fee in excess of $25 only if it receives confirmation that the requester wants it to proceed with the request. ORS 192.440(4)(c).

    9. Prepayment of Estimated Charges

      The County may require prepayment of estimated charges before completing the work necessary to respond to a public records request. If the actual charges are less than the prepayment amount, then the County shall promptly refund the difference. If the actual costs incurred by the County to respond to the request are more than the amount of the prepayment, the County will charge the requestor for all such additional costs.

    10. Copying Charges

      All single-page, one-sided copies (letter, legal or 11x17) may be charged at the rate of $1.00 for the first page and 10 cents for each additional page. (A single page of an owner or applicant’s account/file may be provided at no cost). This fee applies to all records except those for which a previous fee schedule has been established by law, including those listed in Appendix A of the County Code. There is no fee for electronic copies except for staff time, or as may otherwise be set by law or in Appendix A.

    11. Staff Time and Materials Charges

      Staff time eligible to be charged to the requestor includes: time spent locating documents, reviewing documents for determinations of exempt/non-exempt status, certification of documents, and time spent supervising review of records, when supervision is reasonably necessary to protect the documents under review.

    12. Attorney Fees Associated with Request

      Eligible staff time also includes County attorney fees for review, redaction and segregation of documents. County attorney fees for determining whether or not public records law applies to a request are not eligible for being charged to the requestor. ORS 192.440(4)(b).

    13. Fee Waivers

      The County Administrator or designee may waive or reduce fees for copying or inspecting records if the administrator or designee finds the waiver is in the public interest. ORS 192.440(5).

    14. Non-Disclosure of Exempt Records

      Records, that are exempt from disclosure by law, such as ORS 192.445, 192.447, 192.501 and 192.502, shall not be disclosed.

    15. Statutory Compliance

      All County offices shall comply with Chapter 192 of the Oregon Revised Statutes on Records, Reports and Meetings. The Clackamas County District Attorney is an independent state elected official and also serves as the appellate review for any county denials of requests for public records, other than those by elected officials. Therefore, the District Attorney may adopt specific procedures to perform its independent functions and to comply with state law.

    16. The Office of County Counsel is assigned the duty of keeping the Public Records Contact List current, and may also revise the Public Records Request Form as it deems necessary. County Counsel may develop explanatory materials to assist the public and County employees in understanding and applying this Policy. The Office of County Counsel is authorized to update statutory references or make ministerial changes as it deems necessary, but may not alter the substance, meaning or effect of this Policy.

Adopted By the Board of County Commissioners May 8, 2008.

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Carol Hopkins or Denise Hinkle