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Friday, January 2, 2009

The Cost Of Public Disclosure: $3773.40

Posted by Matt Davis on Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Just before Xmas we ran a newslede about attorneys' efforts to gain access to the contents of 20 cardboard boxes containing information about the city's secret list program:

news1-300.jpg

Arguments are yet to go before a judge, but attorney Spencer Hahn lodged a public records request with the Portland Police Bureau to get a look at the boxes, and guess how much they told him it would cost? Oh, that's right, I stuck it in the title. Here's Christopher Paille from the cops' records division:

The estimated fee to process your request is approximately $3773.40. The estimated amount of time needed to review and redact the materials in one box is 3 hours. The estimated time it will take to review 20 boxes is 60 hours. The hourly review rate is $62.89. Please provide a deposit in the amount of $3773.40. If the actual fee to process your request is less than this amount, we will return your deposit and request payment of the lesser fee at the time of production.

The cops are saying they need to review all the information in the boxes to "redact" any information protected under public records law. There is, however, an exception to the requirement to pay for production of information, under Oregon law, and that's when a journalist asks for it, making a compelling argument that the information is in the public interest. Well, consider it done, guys. Those boxes contain information that the public has a right to know, and an interest in knowing. That's why we've been asking about the program since April.

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