PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST POLICY
Adopted per Resolution #2018-01-01
West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (“District”) is an Oregon special district which is subject to Oregon’s public records laws and rules, specifically Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 192.410 -192.505.
It is the policy of the District to respond to all public records requests in a timely manner and in accordance with all relevant Oregon public records laws and rules.
1) In order to facilitate the public’s access to records in the District’s possession, and to avoid unnecessary expenditure of staff time, persons requesting access to public records for inspection or copying, or who submit written requests for copies of public records, shall specify the records requested with particularity, furnishing the dates, subject matter and such other detail as may be necessary to enable District personnel to readily locate the records sought.
2) Written requests from the public specifying the records desired shall be responded to within five business days of receipt, regardless of whether the written request complies with the details or format of Oregon or Federal public records laws and rules. The District’s response will either acknowledge the request or complete the request.
3) Acknowledgement of the request will confirm that the District is or is not the custodian of the requested record.
4) After acknowledging the request and within an additional 10 business days (for a total of 15 business days after receiving the request) the District will complete the request, or provide a written statement that the District is still processing the request and provide a reasonable estimated completion date.
5) Completion of the request means the District has:
a. Provided access to or copies of all non-exempt requested records,
b. Asserted any exemptions to disclosure,
c. Complied with ORS 192.505 – separate exempt from non-exempt material and make non-exempt material available,
d. Provided written statement that the District is not the custodian of record,
e. Provided a statement that federal or state law prohibits the District from acknowledging whether any requested record exists, and
f. Told the requester appeals rights if exemptions were asserted.
6) The District shall permit inspection and examination of its non-exempt public records during regular business hours in the District’s offices. Copies of non-exempt public records maintained in machine readable or electronic form shall be furnished, if available, in the form requested. If not available in the form requested, such records shall be made available in the form in which they are maintained per ORS 192.440(2).
7) In order to recover its costs for responding to public records requests, the District may charge a fee limited to no more than $25.00 unless the requestor is provided with a written notification that the estimated amount of the fee will exceed $25.00 and the requestor confirms that they want the District to proceed and pay the estimated fee due prior to the release of the records.
8) The following fee schedule is adopted by the District:
a. Copies of records shall be charged at the rate of $0.30 for standard, letter size copies.
b. Copies of records available in electronic format may be provided via email without additional charge, or on compact disk, thumb drive or equivalent media for a $6.00 fee.
c. A request that materials be mailed to the requestor, shall be charged at actual postage should postage or shipping exceed $6.00.
d. If a request is of such magnitude and nature that compliance requires creation of the records necessary to comply with the request and as such would disrupt the District’s normal operation, the District may impose such additional charges as are necessary to reimburse the District for its actual costs of producing the records.
e. In accordance with ORS 192.440(4), whenever the District Manager determines that furnishing copies of public records in its possession at a reduced fee or without costs would be in the public interest, they may so authorize.
9) To best utilize staff time and maintain integrity of public records:
a. A member of the public wishing to exam District records must make an appointment and be supervised by a District representative (employee or Director) during searches.
b. No original records of the District may be removed from the District office.
c. If staff determine that the request includes records that are exempt from disclosure or that the District does not hold, the District Manager or Controller shall issue a letter to the requestor stating such.
10) To clarify the confidentiality of certain records:
a. Files containing proprietary information of cooperators, such as individual Conservation Plan files, shall be presumed exempt.
b. Personnel files are exempt by state law.
c. Other files exempt under state or federal law shall be protected as such.
11) The requirement of a District response within a total of 15 business days after receiving the request pauses for the following reasons:
a. The District tells the requester a fee is due to process the request (once paid or waived, the clock resumes), or
b. The District requests additional information or clarification for the purpose of expediting the District’s response (clock starts once requestor provides this information or affirmatively declines to provide it).
12) The time limits do not apply if necessary staff to complete the request is unavailable, or processing the request would impede other necessary services, or the volume of requests is too large. However, the District must still acknowledge and complete the request as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay in these situations.
13) The District shall close the request after 60 days if the requester fails to pay fees due or fails to respond to a request for information or clarification.