AP NEWS

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.

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