Public Records Request
The City of The Dalles (City) is committed to providing public records in response to requests made pursuant to the Oregon Public Records Law (PRL, ORS 192.311 et seq.). Many commonly requested documents are already available on the City’s website.
For most other public records requests, you may submit a Public Records Request Form to the City Clerk and available here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are public records?
Under the PRL, every person has a right to inspect any nonexempt public records in the City’s custody. The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does not apply to municipal governments, such as the City, but the City will consider FOIA requests as if they were made under the PRL.
The PRL defines “public records” broadly as including any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business and prepared, owned, used, or retained by the City. Despite the broad definition, not all public records are available for inspection under the PRL—however, most of the City’s records are public unless an exemption applies. Common exemptions include records containing lawyer-client privileged communications, personnel discipline actions, trade secrets or other proprietary information, information relating to pending RFPs/ITBs, information relating to active criminal investigations, or sensitive security information. Exemptions are determined on a case-by-case basis to comply with specific legal obligations. Whether a record is exempt does not depend on who is making the request or on the reasons for the request.
What if I only have a question or want general information?
The PRL only governs the release of documents and does not require the City to answer questions, create new documents, analyze its documents, or search for information. If you have questions or wish to request general information not already available on the City’s website, please use our Public Records Request form above.
When will I receive a response?
The PRL generally requires the City to acknowledge a request within five (5) business days. The City’s initial response may or may not include the requested documents, which must be provided as soon as practicable and without unreasonably delay. The City usually has a prompt turnaround time for relatively straightforward requests, but the PRL allows the City ten (10) more business days (15 total business days) to complete its response to more complex requests.
The City will provide an initial response acknowledging a request within five (5) business days of its proper receipt of the request during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). The City will endeavor to provide the requested documents within the five (5) business days. If the City cannot, however, then it will respond with a request for clarification of the request and/or with a time estimate of when the requested records can be provided or can be made available for on-site inspection.
If possible, the City may attempt to communicate with the requester by phone or email to help clarify the request and ensure the City responds as soon as possible.
Is there a fee?
The fees for responding to PRL requests are established in a fee schedule adopted by the City Council by resolution and are reasonably calculated to reimburse the City for its actual costs in making the records available. The City fulfills most PRL requests at no-charge; however, for relatively complex requests, the City charges $25.00/hour for its staff time in responding to the request.
If a request will take the City more than one (1) hour of staff time to fulfill, the City may require an initial deposit of $25.00 to be paid. If a request will take four (4) or more hours of staff time to fulfill, the City requires prepayment in full before working on fulfilling a request. If the actual costs incurred by the City are less than the amount of any required prepayment, the overpayment will be promptly refunded.
The City may, at its discretion, furnish copies of requested records without charge or at a reduced fee upon its determination a fee waiver or reduction of fees is in the public interest. Any fee waiver or reduction request must identify the reason for the request, how the public interest is served in waiving or reducing the fee, and must be made in writing to the City Attorney.
What if I am dissatisfied with the response?
If you are dissatisfied with the City’s response to a PRL request, please first explain why you believe the City either misunderstood your request or made an inadvertent mistake in its response directly with the City Clerk.
If you believe the City has failed to comply with the PRL, please contact the City Attorney in writing to explain.
If the City denied your request in whole or in part, you may appeal the City’s denial by petitioning the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office pursuant to ORS 192.411, 192.415, 192.418, 192.422, 192.427, and 192.431.