The city of Portland is expected to appeal a Multnomah County Circuit Court ruling that instructed the city to comply with public records requests more
Judge Shelley Russell found that the city was over-charging for staff time required to review and produce records. The ruling came as a big win for members of the public and the press who have found the city's compliance with Oregon's Public Records Law slow as well as expensive.
But The Oregonian first reported Feb. 3 that City Council will consider a recommendation from the city attorney's office to appeal the verdict.
"The City Attorney's Office most respectfully believes that the court's judgment exceeds the scope of its authority," says the resolution the council will entertain.
Wheeler's spokeswoman Eileen Park says the mayor supports the appeal.
"The mayor wants improved clarity and transparency in the handling of public records," she tells WW. "He supports an appeal that will clarify expectations for both city staff and requesters. Fees should not be excessive. The city needs clarity and we achieve that through an appeal."
Public-records advocate Alan Kessler, who won the judgment, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision. "The city has taken a dispute over a couple hundred bucks and turned it into a six-figure taxpayer liability," he tells WW.