Oregonians like to pride themselves on being leaders in such things as protecting beaches and imposing deposit fees on a variety of bottles. When it comes to transparency of government, however, we have nothing to brag about. Just ask a group of journalism students at the University of Oregon.
Earlier this year the students asked district attorneys in all 36 Oregon counties for copies of public records appeals filed with their offices.
The DAs are the first stop in an appeals process that includes the Oregon Attorney General and, ultimately, the courts. Students also wanted copies of the DAs’ responses to those records and asked to have fees waived. That information, they argued, would give the public an insight into how well district attorneys carry out their duties under the state’s public records laws.
The district attorneys’ responses were surprising, though perhaps they shouldn’t have been. While Deschutes County’s John Hummel had no problem with accommodating the students, more than a few denied the requests, arguing they did not meet the public-interest test.Read More (Offsite)