Public Records Request Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with Oregon Public Records Law, ORS 192.311 – 192.478, regarding requests for public records.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all Central Lincoln employees and Board Members.

3. Policy

Under Oregon’s Public Records Law, every person has a right to inspect any non-exempt public record of a public body in the State of Oregon (ORS 192.314). It is Central Lincoln’s policy to act in the public’s interest of disclosure, and to respond to public record requests in a timely and reasonable manner.

4. Responsibility

Central Lincoln’s Records Officer is responsible for facilitating the response to public record requests as prescribed by Oregon Public Records Law.

5. Procedures

A. Record requests must be made in writing, using the Public Record Request Form and submitted either online, via email, in person, or through the mail. The name of the Records Officer and any designated alternate whom public records requests may be sent, with addresses, will be made available to the public along with the procedure for making public records request (ORS 192.324).

B. Upon receipt of a written public record request by the Records Officer, or a designated alternate, Central Lincoln will acknowledge the receipt of the request, and within five business days respond with the following (ORS 192.324, 192.329):

  1. Notify the Requester whether or not Central Lincoln is the custodian of the requested records.
  2. Notify the Requester that Central Lincoln is uncertain if it is the custodian of the records, and provide an estimated date by which we will be able to provide an update on the request.

C. Upon receiving a public record request, the Records Officer, or designated alternate, will review the request to see if it is ambiguous, overly broad, or misdirected, and follow up with the Requester as necessary to clarify or narrow the request. The Records Officer, or designated alternate, will also consider whether there are any exemptions that preclude Central Lincoln from disclosing the requested records.

D. Central Lincoln will complete the response to a public record request no later than 10 business days after acknowledging the receipt of the request, or as soon as practicable and without reasonable delay. If Central Lincoln is unable to meet the 10-business day deadline to fulfill the request, it will notify the Requester in writing that the request is still being processed and provide a reasonable estimated date of completion (ORS 192.329, 192.407).

  1. The Records Officer, or a designated alternate, may in good faith request additional information or clarification from the Requester in order to expedite the public record request. Until the Requester provides the information or clarification, or affirmatively declines, Central Lincoln’s obligation to further complete the record request is suspended. If the Requester fails to respond within 60 days to a good faith request for information or clarification Central Lincoln will close the request.
  2. If a public record request is extensive, compliance will seriously disrupt Central Lincoln’s operations, or if any exemptions appear to be applicable, the record request may be referred to legal counsel for review.
  3. If Central Lincoln determines that part of, or all the requested records are exempt from disclosure, the Records Officer, or a designated alternate, will provide the Requester with a written explanation; including the specific statute relied on to deny the request for each record requested.

E. Central Lincoln is authorized to charge fees reasonably calculated to reimburse the actual cost of making public records available, including the costs for summarizing, compiling or tailoring the records to meet the request. The actual cost may include labor charges for staff’s time locating and reviewing records, supervising a person’s inspection of original documents, copying records, certifying documents as true copies, attorney fees for reviewing, redacting or segregating exempt material, and other actual costs such as postage (ORS 192.324, 192.329).

  1. If the fee estimate to fulfill a public record request exceeds $25 the Records Officer, or a designated alternate, will provide a written estimate to the requester. Where substantial time or cost is involved, Central Lincoln reserves the right to require a minimum deposit of one-half of the estimated total cost to be paid before processing the request. If a deposit is required, the deadline to fulfill the request is suspended until the fee has been paid or waived. If no response is received to the fee estimate within 60 days, Central Lincoln will close the request.
  2. Central Lincoln may waive or reduce fees for a particular request if doing so “is in the public interest because making the records available primarily benefits the general public”. The Records Officer, or a designated alternate, may seek additional information from a Requester to help clarify the basis for seeking a fee waiver. Waiving or reducing fees will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

F. Central Lincoln will provide copies of records in the format requested, if available. If the requested format is not available, then the records will be provided in the form they are maintained. A Requester is entitled to choose between a copy of a public record or a reasonable opportunity to inspect or copy the record (ORS 192.324).

  1. Upon request, Central Lincoln will provide proper and reasonable opportunities for inspection and examination of its records in business offices during regular business hours.
  2. Providing nonexempt public records under the Oregon Public Records Law is a governmental activity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Individuals with disabilities may request records in an alternative form, such as large print, Braille, audio tape, etc.

G. Central Lincoln’s response to a public record request is complete when (ORS 192.329):

  1. Access to, or copies of all requested records not exempt from disclosure have been provided. If Central Lincoln is not the custodian of the records the Requester will be notified where the records are publicly available.
  2. Central Lincoln asserts any exemptions from disclosure that are believed to apply to the records requested, and notifies the Requester in writing, siting the ORS exemption (ORS 192.355), or, identifying the state or federal law prohibiting disclosure.
  3. Central Lincoln separates any public records containing both exempt and nonexempt material (ORS 192.338), and makes the nonexempt material available to the Requester.
  4. Provides a written statement notifying the Requester that Central Lincoln is not the custodian of the requested records.
  5. Provides a written statement, which cites the state or federal law, notifying the Requester that Central Lincoln is prohibited from acknowledging whether any requested records exist, or that acknowledging whether a requested record exists would result in the loss of federal benefits or imposition of another sanction (unless the written statement itself would violate state or federal law).
  6. If Central Lincoln asserts that one or more requested records are exempt from public disclosure, the written statement will notify the Requester that they may seek review of the exemption determination, pursuant to ORS 192.401, 192.411, 192.415, 192.418, 192.422, 192.427 and 192.431.

H. Public Record Law does not require Central Lincoln to create new public records, disclose the reasoning behind actions, answer questions about records, or analyze records when responding to a public record request.