The state of Oregon has a strong commitment to open government and transparency. This commitment is reflected in the state's public records law, which gives the public the right to access and review government records. The law, which is codified in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), applies to records held by state agencies, local governments, and other public bodies. Below are some of the most common questions about public records in Oregon.
What are public records in Oregon?
Public records in Oregon include any document, paper, letter, map, book, photograph, film, sound recording, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, that is made, maintained, or kept by a public body. This includes records that are created, received, or maintained in connection with the transaction of public business.
There are some exceptions to the definition of public records in Oregon. For example, records that are protected by attorney-client privilege, trade secrets, or personal privacy are generally not considered public records.
How do I access Oregon public records?
Oregon public records can be accessed through the state's online records database, through the county clerk's office where the record is filed, or through the Oregon State Archives.
How do I request copies of Oregon birth, death, marriage, and divorce records?
You can request copies of these records online through the Oregon Health Authority's Vital Records website. You will need to provide identifying information and pay a fee for each copy requested.
How long does it take to receive copies of public records in Oregon?
It depends on the type of record and the method of request. If you are requesting a copy of a birth, death, marriage, or divorce record online, it usually takes about 7-10 business days to process the request. If you are requesting a record in person or through the mail, it may take longer.
Can I access criminal records in Oregon?
Yes, you can access criminal records in Oregon through the Oregon State Police's online database. You will need to provide identifying information and pay a fee for each search.
Can anyone access my criminal record in Oregon?
No, only authorized individuals and agencies can access your criminal record in Oregon. This includes law enforcement agencies, courts, and certain employers that are allowed to conduct background checks.
Can I expunge my criminal record in Oregon?
Yes, in certain circumstances, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged in Oregon. This means that the record is sealed and not accessible to the public. To qualify for expungement, you must meet certain criteria and follow a specific process outlined by the state.
How long does a criminal record stay on my record in Oregon?
A criminal record in Oregon will remain on your record indefinitely unless it is expunged. However, certain crimes may be eligible for sealing after a certain period of time has passed.
Are all Oregon public records open to the public?
No, not all Oregon public records are open to the public. Some records, such as juvenile records, are sealed and not available to the public.
Can I request public records from any county in Oregon?
Yes, you can request public records from any county in Oregon. You will need to contact the county clerk's office where the record is filed and follow their procedures for requesting records.
Are there any fees for requesting public records in Oregon?
Yes, there are fees for requesting public records in Oregon. The fees vary depending on the type of record and the method of request.
Can I request copies of public records for someone else?
Yes, you can request copies of public records for someone else, but you will need to provide written consent from the person whose records you are requesting. You will also need to provide identifying information and pay a fee for each record requested.
How can I access court records in Oregon?
Court records in Oregon can be accessed through the Oregon Judicial Department website or in person at the courthouse where the case was heard.
Are all court records in Oregon available to the public?
Not all court records in Oregon are available to the public. Some records may be sealed or restricted due to privacy or confidentiality concerns.
How far back do court records go in Oregon?
Court records in Oregon go back to the inception of the state's court system. Some older records may be more difficult to access or may no longer be available.
How can I access Oregon property records?
In Oregon, property records are maintained by the county assessor's office in each county. You can visit the Oregon Department of Revenue website to search their county directory. You can typically find information about property records, including ownership information, property tax records, and property appraisals, by visiting the website of the county assessor's office or by contacting them directly. Some county assessor's offices may also offer online search tools that allow you to search for property records by address or property owner's name.