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Requesting Public Records from DEQ: Frequently Asked Questions

How to submit the record request form to DEQ

Introduction

Oregon's Public Records Law (OAR 340-011-0310 - 0390) ensures that governmental operations are open and above-board. We strive to make sure that any interested party may receive any and all the public documents and records they require from DEQ.

The following Questions and Answers section addresses how to request public records, what it may cost, and how DEQ responds to such requests.

Why is there a fee for obtaining copies of public records?

While it is part of DEQ's mission to respond to all records requests as quickly and transparently as possible, file retrieval and reproduction potentially takes time and resources away from our primary mission of protecting and enhancing Oregon's land, air and water. We do not charge for requests that take less than 15 minutes to process, but we are still required to track all records requests.

There are three circumstances in which you may receive one free copy of a DEQ record:

  1. When the material is currently being distributed as part of a public participation process such as press releases or public notices;
  2. When the material has been distributed through a mass mailing and is readily available at DEQ at the time of the request; and
  3. When the requester has a current fee waiver.

How much will it cost to acquire the records I seek?

If the records you request take less than 15 minutes for DEQ staff to locate, DEQ will absorb the cost of duplication and mailing (this does not apply to annual fee waivers). If the request requires more than 15 minutes of staff time, and reproduction cost is over $25, DEQ staff will respond with an estimate of time and cost within 10 business days of receiving your request. Our current rates are as follows:

Type

Fee

Regular copies (8½" x 11")

25¢ ea.

Oversized copies

50¢ ea.

Color copies

$1 ea.

Archive retrieval

First box $60, each additional box $12 ea.

Half-day rush archive retrieval

First box $85, each additional box $15 ea.

Instant rush archive retrieval

First box $135, each additional box $15 ea.

Labor charge, hard copy reproductions

$30/hour

Labor charge, electronic reproductions

$40/hour

Shipping (US mail, Fedex, UPS, etc.)

Actual cost

Records sent to a DEQ off-site subcontractor Contracted fee

Can I get a fee waiver?

Possibly. The state public records law (ORS 192.440(4) and (5)) says an agency may waive fees for providing records if the fee reduction is in the public interest because making the records available primarily benefits the general public. Fee waivers may be possible for news media, governmental entities and non-profit organizations.

Fill out a Fee Waiver/Reduction Request Form to apply for a fee waiver.

What if I just want to look at records and don't need copies made?

We may still charge a fee for the time or cost of record retrieval, if it takes more than 15 minutes.

What if I can't afford the fee?

We will work with you to reduce the cost by narrowing the scope of your request, and by arranging to provide record reviews at a local DEQ office instead of copying and mailing records to you. We will never charge you a records fee over $25 before discussing it with you in advance.

How and when do I pay for the records I need?

You must pay the estimated fee in advance if the estimate is greater than $1,000, or if you are from outside the State of Oregon. In all cases, DEQ may use its discretion in requiring prepayment for records requests.

We accept checks, money orders and cash. Although we are unable to accept credit card payments online at this time, the DEQ Revenue section can accept credit/debit card (Visa/MasterCard/Discover only) payments whenever prepayment (i.e., an in-state request for services estimated to exceed $1,000 or any out-of-state request) is required or the request is made by a federal/local/state government organization. A signed copy of the DEQ fee estimate and the DEQ credit card authorization form must be submitted to the DEQ Revenue section to initiate payment by credit/debit card.

Why do I have to use this form? Why can't I just come to the DEQ office and have the records retrieved while I wait?

As an Oregon State agency we are required to keep track of every records request we receive, and DEQ's response to such requests. This form is our tool for meeting this requirement. Thus, if you go to a DEQ office and ask for records, we will work with you to fill out the form.

How long will it take to obtain records from DEQ?

We strive to make our response time as short as possible. We expect to contact you directly regarding your request within 10 days.

What is the law regarding public records requests?

You can read the official Oregon law.

The Oregon Department of Justice guidelines for records requests and fee waivers can be found in the Public Records and Meetings Manual.


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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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