Requesting Public Records

What is a Public Record?

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 192.314 states that "every person" in Oregon has the right to inspect any nonexempt public record.

ORS 192.311(5)(a) defines a public record to include "any writing that contains information relating to the conduct of the public's business...prepared, owned, used or retained by a public body regardless of physical form or characteristics." The City is not required to create public records to respond to a public records request.

How can I request public records?

Requests for City of Dallas public records must be submitted in writing, on the Public Records Request Form, to one of the following individuals, as applicable: 

General City Records:City Recorder, 187 SE Court St, Dallas, OR 97338
503-831-3502     Email: taylor.smoker@dallasor.gov
Police Records:Police Records Supervisor, 187 SE Court St, Dallas, OR 97338
503-831-3515     Email: tammy.welty@dallasor.gov
Court Records:Court Services Administrator, 187 SE Court St, Dallas, OR 97338
503-831-3576     Email: kim.lundy@dallasor.gov

At a minimum, requests must include:

  1. The name and address of, and sufficient contact information for, the person requesting the public records;
  2. The date of the request; and
  3. A detailed description of the record(s) requested, including subject matter and year(s) of creation. Sufficient keywords must be provided to locate requested electronic records.

What can I expect once my request is made?

City staff will determine the complexity of your request once it's received and assign it a level.

TYPES OF REQUESTS:

Level 1: Requested records must be readily accessible and able to be provided with no more than 10 minutes of staff time. Level 1 records require no duplication or redaction. Level 1 requests are not subject to the Public Records Fee Schedule, and requested records will be provided with the City Acknowledgement.

Level 2: Requested records are not immediately accessible, but can be accessed with no more than 30 minutes of staff time. Level 2 records will not exceed 50 pages, must be located within a single department, and must not include exempt information or require attorney review prior to release.

Level 3: These requests are complex, involve multiple staff and/or departments, or require more than 30 minutes of staff time. Such requests may involve extensive research or compilation of records. Any request requiring legal review falls within this category.

CITY RESPONSE:

Acknowledgement. Within five (5) business days of receipt by the designated custodian, the City will acknowledge receipt of a request.

Completion. Except as provided below, within ten (10) business days after the acknowledgement period, receipt or waiver of any estimated fees, or receipt of any requested additional information, the City shall send requestor a response and either: (1) complete the public records request; or (2) provide a written statement to the requestor that the City is processing the request and a reasonable estimated date by which the City expects to complete its response based on the information currently available.

Exception. The City shall acknowledge a public records request and complete its response as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay, rather than complying with the time periods set forth above if those time periods are impracticable because:

  • Staff necessary to complete a response to the request are on leave or are not scheduled to work;
  • Compliance would demonstrably impede the City’s ability to perform other necessary services; or
  • Of the volume of public records requests being simultaneously processed by the City.

FEES:

  1. The Public Records Fee Schedule governing the City’s responses to public records requests is set by the Council. The City’s actual costs to respond to a request must be paid per the Public Records Fee Schedule prior to a record’s release, or as follows:
  2. Cost Estimate. After acknowledging a Level 2 or Level 3 request, staff will prepare a cost estimate reasonably calculated to reimburse the City for its actual costs in making such records available. A cost estimate includes, but is not limited to, the City’s incurred costs, plus staff time, for: summarizing, compiling, or tailoring a record to meet the person’s request; locating the requested records; reviewing the records in order to separate exempt from non-exempt materials as provided by ORS 192.338; supervising a person’s inspection of original documents in order to protect the records; copying records; certifying documents as true copies; or sending records by special method such as express mail; and attorney time to review and segregate records.
  3. Deposit. The City will provide the prepared cost estimate to the requestor and will require a deposit for estimates over $25 before expending additional City resources on the request. City staff will begin work on the request after receipt of the deposit. If the actual cost of completing the request exceeds the estimate, the City will not release the records until the City’s actual costs are paid in full. If the actual cost of responding to a request is less than the estimated cost, the balance of the deposit will be refunded promptly. The City shall close any public records request if a requestor fails to pay the estimated or reduced fee within 60 days of the date on which the City informed the requestor of the requirement for pre-payment of fees.

Fee Waivers or Reductions:

Requests for fee waivers or reductions must be submitted in writing and include the requestor’s name, address, basis for the request, and explanation of how the request primarily benefits the general public interest.

The City may consider whether the requestor can demonstrate the ability to disseminate the information to the public or otherwise benefit the general public with the information. The City may consider the requestor’s ability to pay and any financial hardship on the City that would arise from granting a waiver.

Fee waiver or reduction requests from news media for Level 2 records will be granted. Fee waiver or reduction requests from the news media for Level 3 records may be granted in whole or in part, or denied and charged in accordance with the City’s Public Records Fee Schedule.

The decision of the City Manager or designee on any fee waiver or reduction is final.

INSPECTION OF ORIGINAL RECORDS:

A person making a public records request may personally inspect the requested records within City Hall, during regular City business hours, by appointment only. The right to inspect records does not include the right to access file cabinets or the right to disassemble or change the order of records in files or binders. Original records may not leave the custody of the City. A City staff member must be present at all times while records are inspected. City staff shall immediately terminate a review if a person attempts to alter, remove, or destroy any record.

The City will allow persons requesting copyrighted records to inspect those records, and may allow limited copying of such records if authorized by Federal copyright law. The City may require the requester to obtain written consent from the copyright holder before allowing copying of such materials.