I'm learning everything there is to know about Oregon Public records law since it appears public bodies (such as Trimet)use the Oregon Public Records Law to hide and complicate the procedure for find out what's really going on behind the scenes of such organizations.
A GUIDE TO REQUESTING PUBLIC RECORDS
Can a government agency charge citizens for copies of public records?
Public agencies may charge a fee to recover the cost of fulfilling a records request. An agency cannot charge more than $25 without first providing an estimate. A public agency may require that you pay the estimated cost up front. You also have the right to ask for the fee to be waived or reduced because it is in the public's interest to release the records. You can appeal a public agency's refusal to waive the fee. The appeals process is explained below.
Are all public records subject to disclosure?
Most public records are subject to disclosure, but there are
exemptions. Records related to an active criminal investigation are
generally exempt from disclosure until the case is resolved.
Confidential communications between government officials and government
lawyers are generally exempt from disclosure. If a public body claims an
exemption, it generally must show that the need for confidentiality
outweighs the public interest in disclosure under the particular
circumstances. When making a public records request, it can be helpful
to describe the public interest in releasing the records. If a public
agency rejects your request and you appeal, the public body will be
required to show that its denial was consistent with the law. For a list
of exemptions and a discussion of their application, you may consult
the Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual.
What can I do if a government agency denies my request for public records?
A public records denial by a state agency, board or commission may be
appealed free of charge to the Oregon Attorney General (see Appeal a State Agency's Denial of Your Request for Records).
It is helpful to forward the agency's written explanation for denying
your request. A denial by a local government such as a county, city,
school district or special district must be appealed to the county
district attorney. If the Attorney General or District Attorney denies
your appeal, you may file a lawsuit challenging the ruling in Circuit
Can members of the public be excluded from a public meeting?
A meeting can be closed to the public if a governing body goes into
Executive Session. The law governing Executive Session is designed to
allow a public body to have confidential discussions, but does not allow
any decisions to be made in secret. All decisions by a governing body
must be made in public. Reasons for Executive Session include
discussions about labor negotiations or the hiring or disciplining of a
public employee. Journalists may attend most Executive Sessions, but
cannot report or broadcast what was said. A list of exempt meetings and
reasons for executive sessions are in the online Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual.