While the state’s reporters have long complained about the state’s open records laws, national research shows Oregon has some of the weakest open records rules in the country.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, Oregon earns an “F” grade in the State Integrity Investigation, which measures “transparency and accountability grades for all 50 states.”
The state also earns an “F” grade measuring the public’s access to information, ranking 34th in the country. For context, Florida is ranked 17th (and neighboring California and Washington ranked 28th and 32nd, respectively).
It's worth noting that Florida is not generally considered a Democrat stronghold, while the West Coast generally is. What a coincidence! As Pulitzer Prize winner for Investigative Reporting (and not for The Oregonian) reporter Nigel Jaquiss observes, state agencies in Oregon routinely block requests for public records because they fear being embarrassed.
As Jaquiss noted, there are no deadlines for Oregon agencies to respond to requests, nor are there limits to costs. Even if the agencies do respond, there are more than 500 exemptions to the state’s public records laws. And while some of the exemptions serve the public good by protecting the victims of domestic abuse, or shielding state employee medical information, other exemptions include dog licenses, information about boat accidents, and complaints filed by consumers about insurance companies, manufactured homes, and even the state’s judges.
In comparison, Florida has four exemptions of public records, there are deadlines for when responses must be filed, and costs must correlate with work performed and be clearly outlined.
One thing Oregon does possess in abundance: smug.
It's a Democrat thing.