Oregon Public Records
The Oregon Public Records and Meetings Law states that any individual, firm, corporation, or government body has the right to inspect, copy and receive copies of public records. The law also states that a written request for records shall be made to the custodian of the public records and that the records will be produced within a reasonable amount of time.
Public records are any writing containing information that is used or retained by a public body in its official duties. This includes, but is not limited to, correspondence, reports, memoranda, working papers, studies, final reports, and recommendations prepared by staff members, consultants, or others.
How to Find Oregon Public Records
The State of Oregon does not have a central repository for public records. However, each state agency is responsible for maintaining its public records.
Some local governments in Oregon maintain websites where you can find information about how to request public records. The Multnomah County website, for example, has a section on public records requests.
It is always recommended to draft a formal public records request before contacting a state or local government agency. This will ensure that you are clear about the records you request and that the agency understands your request.
When making a public records request, you should include:
- Your name and contact information
- The specific records you are requesting
- The format in which you would like to receive the records (e.g., electronic, paper, etc.)
- The time frame in which you are requesting the records
Are Oregon Public Records Available Online?
Not all Oregon public records are available online. However, some state agencies provide access to certain types of records through their websites. The Oregon Judicial Branch provides an online searchable database of court records. The database includes case information for all Oregon circuit courts and the Oregon Tax Court. Vital records are also available online through VitalCheck, the official partner of the Oregon Health Authority.
You will need to contact the appropriate state or local government agency to access public records that are unavailable online. There are three ways to request public records from Oregon state agencies:
- In-person: You can visit the office of the agency you are requesting records from and make your request in person. Be sure to bring a valid form of identification, such as a driver's license or passport.
- By mail: You can send your public records request to the appropriate agency.
- Phone: You can call the agency and make your request over the phone.
What Records are Available in Oregon?
The public records available in Oregon will vary depending on the agency you request them from. However, some common types of documents that are available include:
- Birth and death certificates
- Marriage and divorce records
- Property records
- Court records
- Crime statistics
- Government budgets and spending information
- Permits and licenses
- Business registrations
What Records are Non-Public in Oregon?
While most public records in Oregon are available to the general public, there are some exceptions. Oregon law exempts certain types of records from disclosure, including:
- Records protected by the attorney-client privilege
- Documents that could invade a person's privacy, like medical records
- Trade secrets
- Preliminary drafts or notes
- Records that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation
- Personnel records
- Student records
- And more
Types of Public Records Available in Oregon
While the types of public records that are available in Oregon will vary depending on the agency you are requesting them from, some common types of records that are available include:
Oregon Public Criminal Records
The Oregon State Police provide access to a statewide criminal history database. The database includes information on felonies and misdemeanors reported to the Oregon State Police.
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division is the record custodian for all criminal history information for the state of Oregon. The CJIS Division can provide criminal history reports upon request.
The Open Records Portal is an online tool that allows the public to conduct a name-based search on themselves or another individual. A $10 fee per search is required, and the report can be delivered by mail or e-mail.
For in-person requests, the completed form, set of rolled fingerprints, and a $33 fee need to be submitted to:
Oregon State Police – CJIS Division
P O Box 4395
Portland, OR 97208-4395
Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Oregon :
Arrest Records and Warrants
Arrest records in Oregon are considered public records and are available to the general public. However, warrants are typically not made public until after an arrest has been made.
To obtain arrest records, you must contact the local law enforcement agency or County Sheriff's Office that made the arrest. Each law enforcement agency has its own process for requesting records. It is also reflected in a criminal history record search and may be accessed through the Oregon State Police criminal history database.
To search for outstanding warrants, you must contact the local law enforcement agency or County Sheriff's Office that issued the warrant. Lane County and Clackamas County are among the counties in Oregon that provide an online searchable database of active warrants.
Inmate and Jail Records
List of Offenses
There is no need to open an account, and no login information is required. The Oregon Offender Search is a free and public service.
Jails and Prisons in Oregon :
Oregon Background Checks
A background check is a more comprehensive way to search for someone's criminal history and other public records. In Oregon, the Ban-The-Box law states that employers cannot ask about an applicant's criminal history on the job application. However, employers can still run a background check after an offer of employment has been made.
The state also follows the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which regulates how background checks can be used and requires employers to obtain a written release from the applicant before running a check.
Individuals need to contact several agencies to obtain a complete background check report. The following agencies maintain records that may be included in a background check:
Oregon State Police: Maintains criminal history records.
Oregon Judicial Department: Has court records available online and in person.
Oregon Health Authority: Contains information on professional licenses and vital records such as birth and death certificates.
How to find Sex Offenders in Oregon
The Oregon Sex Offender Registry is a public database that contains information on registered sex offenders in the state of Oregon. The Oregon State Police maintain a registry that includes information on sex offenders convicted of felonies and misdemeanors.
The registry is available to the public and can be searched by address and name. The following information can be found on the registry:
- Hair color
- Eye color
- Identifying features
The information on the registry is updated regularly, and it is essential to note that not all sex offenders are required to register. Some sex offenders may be subject to restrictions and may not be listed on the registry.
Oregon Public Vital Records
There are four ways to order vital records in Oregon:
- Mail: You can download the application forms from the Oregon Health Authority website and mail them to the address listed on the form or website. The completed form must be accompanied by a check or money order for the correct fee.
- Online: You can order birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates through VitalChek. There is an additional fee for this service.
- In-person: Schedule an appointment with the Oregon Health Authority office here. You will need to bring a valid photo ID and the correct fee.
- By phone: You can order certificates by calling 1-888-896-4988. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week except on holidays.
Oregon Court Records
As mentioned earlier, Oregon court records are available online through the Oregon Judicial Department. The website provides access to case information for circuit courts and tax courts.
The OJCIN OnLine (Oregon Judicial Case Information Network) is also an online, subscription-based tool that contains the official Register of Actions from Oregon State Courts plus the judgment dockets, including all trial, appellate, and tax courts.
Court staff of local counties may also be able to provide copies of court records in person, by phone, or through the mail. The requested documents must be reviewed for sensitive information before they are released.
Specific fees may apply.
State Court System in Oregon
The Oregon Court System contains four levels:
- The Supreme Court
- The Tax Court
- The Court of Appeals
- The Circuit Courts
Depending on the type of case, it will be filed in the appropriate court. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and reviews cases that have been appealed from lower courts. The Tax Court hears cases related to tax matters, while the Court of Appeals reviews cases appealed by the circuit courts. The circuit courts are the trial courts in Oregon and handle various cases, including criminal, civil, probate, juvenile, and small claims.
Courts in Oregon :
The Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) is responsible for maintaining driving records. Driving records can be obtained online or by mail. The type of record requested will determine the fee.
- Online: You can order your driving record through the Oregon DMV website. You must sign up here and create an account to access your driving record.
- By mail: Fill up this request form and mail it to the address provided on the form. Include a check or money order for the correct fee.
Civil Driving Infractions
Driving infractions are not criminal offenses, but they will still appear on your driving record. Examples of civil driving infractions include:
- Failure to stop at a red light
- Driving without insurance
- Driving with a suspended license
If you have been issued a civil driving infraction, you will be given a date to appear in court. You can choose to pay the fine or contest the violation.
Oregon License Plate Lookup
The DMV issues license plates in Oregon. You can choose from a variety of standard and specialty plates. The process for ordering license plates differs depending on whether you are a new or used car buyer.
To look up a license plate number in Oregon, contact the DMV or use an online search tool.
For more information on license plate lookups in Oregon, click here.
Oregon Property and Asset Records Online
Oregon property records are available online through a variety of sources. Each county has a website where you can access property tax records, and some counties also provide online access to assessor’s records. The Oregon State Archives also provides an online historic property ownership records database.
Important Government Agencies in Oregon
Below are some essential government agencies in Oregon:
- Secretary of State
- State Governor
- Oregon Historical Records Index
- Oregon State Legislature
- Oregon Attorney General
- Oregon Health Authority
- Oregon State Police
- Oregon Judicial Branch
- Oregon State Treasury
- Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services
- Department of Corrections
Counties in Oregon
List of Content
- How to Find Oregon Public Records
- What Records are Available in Oregon?
- Types of Public Records Available in Oregon
- Important Government Agencies in Oregon