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• “Archive” derives from the 5th century BC Greek arkheion, the residence of the
superior magistrates, or archons in classical Greece, the place where official documents
were filed and viewed.

       -- key: first time written records of government actions viewed as “community”

• French Revolution

       -- National Archives Administration formed in 1794 to protect records and
       guarantee right of access to records by members of the public.

       -- Birth of modern, western records management.

       -- Keys:

                  -- responsibility of state for care of government records

                  -- right of citizens to review these records

• United States

       --First State Archives (Alabama) founded in 1900

       --founded 1932 to concentrate and preserve valuable records

       --Modern Archives written in 1957

       --FOIA (1969), Privacy Act (1971), and Presidential Records Act (1974)

• Oregon

       --Oregon State Archives founded in 1947 to care for historic records of Oregon

       --added Records Management oversight in 1972

       --Public Records Law in 1973
                                  What is recordkeeping?

“Making and maintaining complete, accurate and reliable evidence of business transactions in
the form of recorded information.”

       • Evidence. Records are substitute testimony intended to tell someone about something
       that happened. They serve as evidence of action.

       • Recorded information. In spite of Minority Report, information must be recorded in
       some way to qualify as a record.

       • Business transactions. Records document personal actions (in the case of personal
       papers) or corporate actions (in the case of corporate bodies).

       • Complete, accurate, and reliable. Established standards and diplomatic forms have
       created a set of conditions to ensure that records are acceptable evidence. As technology
       changes, these conditions change, too.

                                Why keep public records?

       • evidential and informational values

       • protect the rights of citizens and organizations

       • improve government efficiency

       • insure fiscal and operational accountability of government

       • as a cultural and historic resource
                                The Public Records Law

• Created in 1973 to protect and inform *the public*

• Basis for public records policy in Oregon; ORS 192.410-505, but often includes ORS

• Applies to all political jurisdictions; but is limited in its application to the legislature or
the court system.

• Defines public record (192.410(4))

• Outlines:

    -- public records policy (192.001)

    -- photocopies as records and evidence (192.040-192.060)

    -- microfilming (192.070-072)

    -- records retention and destruction (192.105-.170)

    -- Inspection of public records (192.420)

    -- requirements of custodian (192.430)

    -- public copying records (192.440)

    -- recourse for denied access (192.450-490)

    -- disclosure exemptions (192.495-192.502)

    -- requirement to segregate (192.505)
                             Definition of Public Record

ORS 192.005(5)

(5)“Public record” includes, but is not limited to, a document, book, paper,
     photograph, file, sound recording or machine readable electronic
     record, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made, received,
     filed or recorded in pursuance of law or in connection with the
     transaction of public business, whether or not confidential or restricted
     in use. “Public record” does not include:

(a) Records of the Legislative Assembly, its committees, officers and
(b) Library and museum materials made or acquired and preserved solely
     for reference or exhibition purposes.
(c) Records or information concerning the location of archaeological sites
     or objects as those terms are defined in ORS 358.905.
(d) Extra copies of a document, preserved only for convenience of
(e) A stock of publications.
(f) Messages on voice mail or on other telephone message storage and
     retrieval systems.

ORS 192.410(4 and 6)

(4) "Public record" includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of
     the public’s business, including but not limited to court records, mortgages, and deed
     records, prepared, owned, used or retained by a public body regardless of physical
     form or characteristics.


(6) "Writing" means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photographing and every means
     of recording, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination
     thereof, and all papers, maps, files, facsimiles or electronic recordings. [1973 c.794
     §2; 1989 c.377 §1; 1993 c.787 §4; 2001 c.237 §1]
                     Custodians of public records
• definition:

 A public body mandated, directly or indirectly, to create, maintain, care for or
control a public record. "Custodian" does not include a public body that has
custody of a public record as an agent of another public body that is the
custodian unless the public record is not otherwise available. (ORS 192.410(1b)

• access requirements

        -- provide “reasonable” access to records, including electronic records

        -- disclosure exemptions (see AG manual or contact CA)

        -- must segregate, or redact, records if necessary

        -- must make a decision on accessibility within a “reasonable” period

        -- must comply (for now anyway) with ADA requirements

        -- must comply (since April 2003) with HIPAA privacy rules

        -- must comply (after April 2005) with HIPAA security rules

        -- see Executive Rule No. 266 for policy on media request (in packet)

• copying requirements

        -- must allow copies to be made of accessible records

        -- may charge reasonable cost recovery charges

        -- not required to reformat records

• retention

        -- public records must be retained unless authorization to destroy exists

• reasonable rules

        -- interference with business activities, protection of records

        -- cost of copies

        -- cost of retrieval or cost of preparation
                         -- good idea to post policy/fee schedule

                  • roles of County Attorney and District Attorney
                               Requirements of Records Custodian

1. Access: (1) The custodian of any public records, including public records maintained in machine
readable or electronic form, unless otherwise expressly provided by statute, shall furnish proper and
reasonable opportunities for inspection and examination of the records in the office of the custodian and
reasonable facilities for making memoranda or abstracts therefrom, during the usual business hours, to all
persons having occasion to make examination of them. If the public record is maintained in machine
readable or electronic form, the custodian shall furnish proper and reasonable opportunity to assure access.
(2) The custodian of the records may adopt reasonable rules necessary for the protection of the records and
to prevent interference with the regular discharge of duties of the custodian. [ORS 192.430]

2. Copying: (1) The custodian of any public record which a person has a right to inspect shall give the
person, on demand, a certified copy of it, if the record is of a nature permitting such copying, or shall
furnish reasonable opportunity to inspect or copy.
(2) If the public record is maintained in a machine readable or electronic form, the custodian shall provide
copies of the public record in the form requested, if available. If the public record is not available in the
form requested, it shall be made available in the form in which it is maintained.
(3) The public body may establish fees reasonably calculated to reimburse it for its actual cost in making
such records available including costs for summarizing, compiling or tailoring such record, either in
organization or media, to meet the person's request. However, when the records are those filed with the
Secretary of State under ORS chapter 79, the fees for furnishing copies, summaries or compilations of such
records are those established by the Secretary of State by rule, under ORS chapter 79.
(4) The custodian of any public record may furnish copies without charge or at a substantially reduced fee
if the custodian determines that the waiver or reduction of fees is in the public interest because making the
record available primarily benefits the general public.
(5) A person who believes that there has been an unreasonable denial of a fee waiver or fee reduction may
petition the Attorney General or the district attorney in the same manner as a person petitions when
inspection of a public record is denied under ORS 192.410 to 192.505. The Attorney General, the district
attorney and the court have the same authority in instances when a fee waiver or reduction is denied as it
has when inspection of a public record is denied.
(6) This section does not apply to signatures of individuals submitted under ORS chapter 247 for purposes
of registering to vote as provided in ORS 247.973. [ORS 192.440]

3. Retention: 192.001 Policy concerning public records. (1) The Legislative Assembly finds that:
(a) The records of the state and its political subdivisions are so interrelated and interdependent, that the
decision as to what records are retained or destroyed is a matter of statewide public policy.
(b) The interest and concern of citizens in public records recognizes no jurisdictional boundaries, and
extends to such records wherever they may be found in Oregon.
(c) As local programs become increasingly intergovernmental, the state and its political subdivisions have a
responsibility to insure orderly retention and destruction of all public records, whether current or
noncurrent, and to insure the preservation of public records of value for administrative, legal and research
                         Records Management Issues

• retention scheduling

       -- must have authorization before destruction of records

       -- role of state archivist

       -- county retention schedules (see MINT for current)

       -- based on four values of records

       -- retention requirements apply to all records regardless of format

       -- schedules authorized for 5 years

• destruction of public records

       -- Materials that are not public records [see ORS 192.005(5), 192.170]

       -- Regardless of the retentions listed on a department retention schedule,
       no records created in 1920 or earlier or listed on the Oregon Historical
       Records Inventory may be destroyed.

       -- Eligibility for destruction

               -- Records maintained in department storage

               -- Records maintained in County Records Center

       -- Destruction Authorizations

       --Records placed on hold

       -- Records sent to the Records Center for immediate destruction

• storage options and alienation

       -- activity, volume, and archival value

       -- department active space

       -- department inactive storage space

       -- county records center
                       -- other options (mostly BAD)

                       -- alienation prohibited (OAR 166-020-0010)
                                      Components of State Archives
                                       Administrative Rules

1. Use of Digital Imaging Systems
2. Storage Area Standards
3. Microfilming Standards
4. Retention and Disposition Authorization (see below)
5. Disposition of Records

OAR 166-030-0027
Public Records Retention and Disposition Authorization (Local Agencies)
Authorization for destruction of public records by local agencies must be obtained as follows:
(1) No authorization is required to destroy materials which are excluded or exempt by statute from the
definition of public records. (ORS 192.005(5), 192.170)
(2) An applicable General Schedule published in OAR Chapter 166, or a Special Schedule approved by
the State Archivist, establishes the appropriate retention and disposition for local agency records. A local
agency may destroy public records which have met the terms and conditions of their scheduled retention
period, subject to the prior audit requirements of OAR 166-030-0041 and any suspension ordered under
the provisions of OAR 166-030-0045. Unless otherwise stated, a retention period shall be calculated
from the date the public record was created.
(3) Notwithstanding any retention period listed in a General Schedule, no public record created in or
prior to 1920 shall be destroyed without the express written permission of the State Archivist.
(4) Specific approval from the State Archivist by means of a Special Schedule is required to dispose of
public records which are not listed in an applicable General Schedule found in these rules. Instructions
on creating Special Schedules are available from the State Archivist.
(5) A Special Schedule approved for an individual local agency shall supercede an applicable General
Schedule, insofar as it applies to the same public record.
(6) Special Schedules approved after January 1, 1987, shall have an expiration date set by the State
(7) Notwithstanding any retention period listed in a General Schedule or Special Schedule, no public
records listed on the Oregon Historical Records Inventory shall be destroyed. Copies of lists of records
on the Oregon Historical Records Inventory are available from the State Archivist.

192.170 Disposition of materials without authorization. The destruction or other disposal of the
following materials do not require specific authorization:
(1) Inquiries and requests from the public and answers thereto not required by law to be preserved or not
required as evidence of a public or private legal right or liability.
(2) Public records which are duplicates by reason of their having been photocopied.
(3) Letters of transmittal and acknowledgment, advertising, announcements and correspondence or notes
pertaining to reservations of accommodations or scheduling of personal visits or appearances.
                               MULTNOMAH COUNTY - RECORDS SECTION

                                Records Retention Schedule for:


Agency Series #   Series Title, Description, Retention (State Disp. Code)

FREDS3-001        Accessioning Records: Records documenting the transfer of record accessions
                  to the County Records Center and Archives. Includes transmittals, destruction
                  notices, distribution slips, shelflists, and attached correspondence. Most of
                  this information is maintained and summarized in records accessioning
                  databases. Information includes accession date, description of records,
                  initial shelf locations, transmitting department, destruction date (if
                  applicable), control number, and authorizing signatures.
                  Retention: Records documenting the transfer of permanent records: retain
                  permanently; Accession databases: retain permanently; other records: retain 1
                  year after associated records have been destroyed. (2000-0040/001)

FREDS3-012        Accounts Payable Records: Records documenting payment of program bills.
                  Includes reports, invoices, statements, vouchers, purchase orders, payment
                  authorizations, receipt records, cancelled checks or warrants, and similar
                  Retention: Retain 3 years. (MOAR 166-103-0025(1))

FREDS3-010        Budget Preparation Records : Records documenting the preparation of program
                  budget requests presented to the division budget program. May include staff
                  reports, budget instructions, worksheets, surveys, allotment reports,
                  spending plans, contingency plans, budget proposals, financial forecasting
                  reports, and similar records.
                  Retention: Retain 2 years. (MOAR 166-103-0025(13))

FREDS3-011        Computer System Management Records: Records documenting the planning,
                  development, and maintenance of program computer systems, primarily the STAR
                  records management system and the distribution billing system. Records
                  include system documentation, hardware and software manuals and
                  specifications, software development records (including coding instructions,
                  report and record layouts, data structures, and database relationships),
                  backup records, correspondence, and related records.
                  Retention: Retain for life of system. (MOAR 166-103-0030(1,2,8))

FREDS3-006        Correspondence, Ephemeral: Series documents communications received or sent
                  which do not contain significant information about county programs, fiscal
                  status, or routine program operations. Records include, but are not limited
                  to, advertising circulars, drafts and worksheets, desk notes, memoranda, and
                  other records of a preliminary or informational nature.
                  Retention: Retain until read. (MOAR 166-103-0005(8))

FREDS3-007        Correspondence, General: Series documents communications received or sent
                  which do not contain significant information about the records program.
                  Records include letters sent and received, memoranda, notes, transmittals,
                  acknowledgements, community affair notices, charity fund drive records,
                  routine requests for information or publications, enclosures, and
                  Retention: Retain 1 year. (MOAR 166-103-0005(9))
                           Electronic Records

• PRL applies regardless of format

       -- status as public record independent of media

                 -- exec rule on email

       -- record copy issues

• Types of electronic records

       -- computer

       -- videotape

       -- audiotape

• Media considerations

       -- durability vs. retention and access requirements

       -- cost

• Format Considerations

       -- access through time

       -- migration

• Conversion issues

       -- cost

       -- evidential reliability

• Access Issues

       -- segregation

       -- cost
                                     Archival Records

• Records which warrant permanent retention because of their value in preserving
evidence of individual rights, government actions, and/or cultural and historical events.

• archives are organizational records (manuscripts are personal records)

• county archival records include:

       -- records dated 1920 and earlier

       -- records included on the Oregon Historic Records Inventory

       -- records with a retention of permanent on a records retention schedule

• maintained in Oregon State Archives and in County Archives

• basic archival services

       -- arrangement and description

       -- preservation

       -- reference

• Examples of County archives in use today

       • Edgefield
       • County Commissioners
       • Library

• Examples of non-historical uses of archives

       • Tuskegee Syphilis Study
       • Board of Eugenics records
       • Native American treaties
Sustainable Recordkeeping
 Sustainability focuses on improving the quality of life without increasing the use of
natural resources beyond the capacity of the environment to supply them indefinitely.

• Two principal resource uses associated with recordkeeping are:



• Recycling alone cannot solve the problem

• Must reduce unnecessary records

• Must continue to recycle records and associated equipment

• Must consider lifespan and media

• Must consider carefully the role of the computer in recordkeeping.
                  Multnomah County General Personnel Rules
                   From section 3, Workplace Management*

(A) Electronic mail messages are public records. As such, they are subject to the same
rules for public in-spection and retention that apply to all other county records.
Public employees have an obligation to apply the appropriate retention rules to electronic
mail and voice mail sent and received. Electronic mail records have the same retention
rules as other correspondence. In general, correspondence is divided into three categories:
(1) Policy and historical correspondence states or forms the basis of policy, sets important
prece-dents, or records historic events related to the county or operations of the
department. Records must be re-tained permanently.
(2) Program correspondence documents and adds significant information to the program
or primary functional responsibility of the department, within existing policy parameters.
Records must be retained for the same period as the program or functional record series
to which it relates.
(3) Routine correspondence is of a transitory or housekeeping nature that does not add
significant in-formation to the program or primary functional responsibility of the
department. Records must be retained as needed.
(B) Most electronic mail correspondence will fall into the category of routine
correspondence and may be destroyed once it is read. Attached documents need to be
filed according to their function and content.
(C) Upon receipt of a valid request, the county is responsible for making electronic mail
records available for inspection by the public.
(D) Requests for copies of or to inspect electronic mail records, must be reviewed by the
County Attor-ney’ s Office before providing copies or permitting or denying such
inspection .
(E) Voice mail will be treated the same as e-mail under this rule if the county implements
systems creat-ing voice mail records meeting the legal requirements for public inspection
and retention.

*see: http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/dbcs/hr/labor/rule_employee3.shtml#public_records
                     MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON

                           EXECUTIVE RULE NO. 266
Complying with a Public Records Request from the Media

a. The Oregon Public Records Law (ORS 192.410 to 192.505) governs requests for
public records. The law provides that most records in government files are accessible for
public review.

b. Exemptions exist to public records law, but the burden to establish that an exemption
applies to a specific record is on the County. Exemptions include records containing
personal information and those protected by attorney-client privilege.

c. Oregon Public Records Law makes no distinction between requests from the media and
the general public.

d. The law applies only to public records that already exist. It does not require the
County to create new records or perform research. For example, if the County receives a
request for a list of its 100 highest paid employees and no such list exists, the County is
not required to create such a record.

e. The law does not distinguish between records that exist on paper, electronically, or as a
recording. All of these are public records.

f. The “custodian” of a record is the County employee who keeps the public record on
file as part of their job. For example: the custodian of a property appraisal record is the
appraiser in the Assessment and Taxation Division. The only County employee
responsible for keeping a public record is the custodian of record.

g. When a record request is received, the custodian of record is not legally required to
meet the deadline set by the requester. The custodian is allowed time to locate and
review records and have them reviewed for possible exemption by the County attorney,
prior to permitting inspection or making copies of the record.

h. Public records law does not apply to questions from the news media. The law does not
require County employees to respond to a media requests for interviews or for
information not in a public record.

i. The greatest control County employees have is in deciding to create a public record.
Local, state and federal laws govern the length of time many records must be kept.
Contact the County Records Office if you are unsure of retention requirement for a
particular record. Once a public records request has been received, the law prohibits
record destruction even if its legal retention period has expired.
The following rules apply for employees who receive public records requests from the

1. Contact the Public Affairs Office or County Attorney’s Office if public records request
from the news media is received. The Public Affairs Office can assist with media and
communication issues related to the request. The County Attorney may review requested
records to determine if any are exempt from public disclosure.

2. If the record request is received orally, require that the request be submitted in writing
to the custodian of record. The request should specify the documents requested.
Documents may be specified by topic, date, creator, recipient, etc.

3. When a written request is received, notify the County Attorney’s Office, the Public
Affairs Office, and the Department Director.

4. The County is entitled to recover its actual cost in making public records available.
County employees should use a common sense approach to charging for costs. If billing
for costs would take more time than simply complying with the request then it does not
make sense to charge. For example, the request may be for a single record of which the
County has numerous copies. Another request may warrant charging for costs that
involve lengthy record searches, review by County attorney, and editing (deleting parts of
the records that are exempt from disclosure).

5. Fees are to be set by each department director. (Multnomah County Code 11.002). In
creating a bill, employees should calculate their time devoted to a request, multiply it by
their hourly salary, and add any actual hard costs, such as photocopying.

6. It is recommended that Departments estimate actual costs and time required to
complete a request and get agreement to pay and deposit from the requester before
beginning a record search.

7. Departments will:

(a) send all records located to the County Attorney’s Office for review prior to their
release if an exemption is claimed;

(b) track all costs and prepare a bill, if needed, for the requester;

(c) make a copy of requested materials and provide it to requester in return for any fee

Dated this 15th day of February, 2002.
Diane M. Linn, Multnomah County Chair

                                             Contact List

For questions about public records access or access restrictions, contact:

         County Attorney
         501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
         Portland, OR 97214
         503.988.3138 (x83138)
         503.988.3377 (fax)

For all other records questions, contact:

         County Records Program
         1620 SE 190th Avenue
         Gresham, Oregon 97233
         503.988.3741 (x83741)
         503.988.3754 (fax)

         Records Program Staff

         Dwight Wallis, dwight.d.wallis@co.multnomah.or.us - Program Manager
         Will J. Graham, will@co.multnomah.or.us - transmittals, microfilm
         Terry Baxter, terry.d.baxter@co.multnomah.or.us - retention schedules, archives
         Kevin Dean, kevin.dean@co.multnomah.or.us - warehouse operations
          Use Archives Requests (records@co.multnomah.or.us) for emailed file requests

To get a blank transmittal, either call the Records Program or download one online at:


To get records center cartons and labels, contact:

         Central Stores
         2505 SE 11th Avenue
         Portland, OR 97202
         503.988.5299 (x85299)
         503.988.6265 (fax)

         Order numbers are:

         Boxes -- M61537001 File Carton Transfer 15x12x10
         Labels -- M61582009 Label for File Transfer Carton 25/pk
For questions about box pickup and delivery, contact:

        Distribution Services
        2505 SE 11th Avenue
        Portland, OR 97202
        503.988.3533 (x83533)
        503.988.3754 (fax)
                           Some Resources, Annotated


Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual, Department of Justice. This
manual provides an overview of the Public Records Law, case histories, and a listing of
disclosure exemptions. Ordering information is available at

Information and Image Management : A Records Systems Approach. Betty R. Ricks et al,
South-Western Pub; ISBN: 0538700688, (January 1992). Slightly dated standard
textbook provides overview of records management functions.


Multnomah County Records Program provides records management services to over
200 county and local agencies, including retention scheduling, records center storage,
micrographics, reprographics, and confidential document destruction. The program
provides storage for approximately 33,000 c.f. of records in a secure, controlled, and low
cost operation. (http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/dbcs/FREDS/records/index.shtml).

Oregon State Archives is the government agency that oversees public records policy in
Oregon. (http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/)

Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) is an international
organization comprised of local chapters. The Oregon chapter's mission is to provide
records and information management education and opportunities, and promote
professional development within ARMA and the business community.

                                   Online Resources

An extensive portal to records management information is maintained by Alan Zaben. It's
arranged by subject and covers a variety of topics — from the mundane (electronic
records) to the esoteric (radioactive waste resources). (http://infomgmt.homestead.com/)

The Multnomah County Historic Records Inventory is a continuing project started in
1993 by the Oregon State Archives to identify and describe selected historic records of
Oregon's counties. This inventory was updated in Fall, 2000.