The Op-Ed protesting this is in the RG here, and the requesters have petitioned Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum:
… So we are filing a request for review with the Oregon attorney general. Why? Because 39 local units of Oregon government want to charge us more than $40,100 in special fees just to produce simple records of public employee salaries.
If these units succeed in imposing what is essentially a transparency tax, our organization could face future fees up to $4 million across 1,509 units of government to simply compile a complete record of all government expenditures: salaries, pensions and vendor transactions. Levying extreme fees — a tactic used to keep government spending hidden — is a violation of Oregon’s open records law.
What on earth could Lane County, which wants to charge us $23,000 in fees, be hiding? …
To my knowledge Ellen Rosenblum’s office has only made one order requiring an agency to waive fees for a public records request since she took over from John Kroger in 2012. It was for $2.75, and it was very carefully worded to avoid creating a useful precedent for those trying to get records from the state.
In fact one interpretation of her office’s order is that agencies should *increase* their fees, since the DOJ has ruled that the burden on the agency of waiving small fees is trivial. So it’s good to hear that her office will have another chance to show that they are serious about public records reform.
The DOJ’s full $2.75 Public Records Order is here: