FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit

August 14, 2013 3:20 PM

From Daily Journal:  The state online repository of court files is a public record, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled, overturning a lower-court judgment that put the state in the awkward position of arguing that its own online registry was insufficiently reliable to establish that a conviction had taken place.

The ruling came in a minor Multnomah County misdemeanor case in which a circuit court judge refused to accept a defendant's use of the Oregon Judicial Information Network as a public record to attack the credibility of a government witness.

"We disagree with the state's argument that an OJIN register is not sufficiently reliable to 'establish' the existence of a conviction," Appeals Court Judge Timothy Sercombe wrote in the ruling released last week.

Get the rest here.


March 14, 2013 10:13 AM

Editorial from Lebanon Express:

This week is Sunshine Week, where journalists everywhere discuss the importance of open government and access to information.

In the last few months, the Lebanon Express and its sister paper, the Albany Democrat-Herald, have requested numerous documents and bits of information to shed light on why a police chief of six months — and a 17-year veteran of the force — left the department and was offered a severance package.

Although the city was not as forthcoming as we’d have liked, it should be noted that the city has not charged the papers for any of the information it released.

March 11, 2013 11:56 AM

From Corvallis Gazette Times:

Sunday marks the start of Sunshine Week, the national initiative that’s meant to call attention to the importance of open government and freedom of information.

Typically, this is a time when I blather on about how government works best when it functions in the sunshine and how Oregon’s laws on public records and open meetings, once among the best in the nation, have been whittled down over the years until they’re shadows of their former selves.


But the recent efforts of the Democrat-Herald and the Lebanon Express to try to get more information about the unexpected departure of the chief of the Lebanon Police Department offer a vivid example of how these issues can play out in the real world.

February 7, 2013 11:36 AM

From San Francisco Chronicle:

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Want to find out if a particular motel has bedbugs? ... Who won the lottery? ... How much a retired public employee is earning from a pension?

Some in the Oregon Legislature want to keep that information confidential, and several bills would cut off public access to those records.

February 4, 2013 11:34 AM


A Coos County judge, in a harsh rebuke to the local port district, ruled that the port "abused its discretion" by attempting to discourage the Sierra Club from obtaining public records involving a proposed coal export terminal.

Circuit Judge Paula Bechtold ordered the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay to turn over the documents without charge, and awarded the environmental group attorney's fees in the case.

November 14, 2012 9:34 AM


Oregon legislators are required to keep their email messages for a year, according to their own rules and state law. But confusion about a computer backup system suggests an unknowable number of public records has been lost. 
The issue wasn't on anybody's radar until The Oregonian requested copies of email related to a trip seven Republican lawmakers made to Palm Springs in January. The all-male group visited a topless club while they were there and, a few months later, House GOP leader, Rep. Kevin Cameron, stepped down because of fear that the public would find out. 

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