September 28, 2023, 8:47 pm
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General Information About Oregon Public Records and Laws
In Oregon, public records are readily available to individuals who wish to access them. However, this information remains available only within the letter of the law. There are specific limits to what can be accessed. The Oregon Open Records Act, Chapter 192 provides specific information regarding this. In short, this statute allows for members of the public to have access to government records. It is given to those who wish to view information without any limitation in terms of why.
What Is a Public Record?
The law does outline what an Oregon public record actually is. This information will differ from one instance to another. However, it is any record or material in the possession of a government body or one of its affiliates. It can be in written form, video, photographs, documents held electronically or otherwise. In addition, the information can come from any type of government action or recording, as well as from anything obtained, created or given to the agency. The state does not provide a specific list of information in regards to what is considered a public record, but it does provide some specifications in terms of what is not.
Some information remains protected under the privacy laws of the state or of the federal government. The following are some types of exempted information you cannot obtain through a request.
·         Information regarding the medical records of an individual
·         Information regarding the schooling records of an individual
·         Data or any documentation from a court proceeding in which the judge has ruled it sealed, due to sensitive information or a juvenile record
·         All information that would violate the federal privacy laws
·         Data that would stop or otherwise disrupt the actions of government
·         Data or information that is meant to be used against another person in an illegal manner
·         Any data that could identify a victim in select cases
·         Data that is a part of an ongoing investigation
In most situations, though, government documents and records remain available to individuals. You simply need to request it.
Oregon Public Records Obtaining
To obtain public records in the state, individuals can contact the department that is in charge of maintaining those regards directly, usually in person, to make a formal, written request. In addition, some agencies now have records available online for searching. Third party organization may also offer searchable information. The following are some of the most commonly sought after records from government agencies.
·         The Attorney General's Office provides information regarding business practices, corporations and nonprofit organizations in the state.
·         Vital records are maintained through the Department of Human Services.
·         Accessible criminal records are available through the Oregon State Police, Unit 11, Identification Services Section.
·         The state's sexual offender registry is managed by the Oregon State Police.
·         Statewide court records are available through the Court Administrator at the Supreme Court Building in Sale, but local records may also be available.
Oregon public records remain available to the general public within the letter of the law.
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