Portland must stop charging excessive public record fees

November 20, 2019 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Multnomah County judge has ruled that Portland must stop charging excessive fees for routine email and document searches to fulfill public records requests.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Circuit Court Judge Shelley D. Russell’s ruled Monday that the city’s current system for determining records search costs is unreasonable.

Russell’s order stems from a September 2018 lawsuit filed by attorney and activist Alan Kessler.

He claimed the city overcharged him by requiring him to pay $311.67 for metadata from emails between a member of Portland’s Historic Landmarks Commission and employees at the Bureau of Development Services.

A trial held Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 resulted in Russell’s ruling and her injunction against future high search charges. The city gave Kessler a $52 refund in acknowledgment it had overcharged him by overstating an employee’s hourly pay.

Portland City Attorney Tracy Reeve said the city was evaluating the decision and determining next steps.


Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com