Oregon Public Meetings Law
The Oregon Public Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Chapter 192 of the Oregon code define the law.
Relevant legal cases
- See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA
Here is a list of open meetings lawsuits in Oregon. For more information go the page or go to Oregon sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)
We do not currently have any pages on open meetings litigation in Oregon.
Proposed open meetings legislation
We do not currently have any legislation for Oregon in 2010.
Statement of purposeThe statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly." 
Which government meetings are open to the public?
The law states that a meeting is any convening of a quorum of the members of a governing body in order to discuss or decide on public business.
Notable exemptions to this definition include:
- on-site inspection of facilities
- attendance to national, regional or state associations of which the public body is a part
What government bodies are subject to the laws?
The act defines government body as "the state, any regional council, county, city or district, or any municipal or public corporation, or any board, department, commission, council, bureau, committee or subcommittee or advisory group or any other agency thereof."
Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:
- State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision
- Psychiatric Security Review Board
- Workers’ Compensation Board or the Employment Appeals Board
- Oregon Health and Science University Board of Directors regarding the position of University President
- Oregon Health and Science University faculty or staff committee meetings
The Oregon Public Meetings Law is ambiguous as to whether or not the law applies to the legislature. While the broad definition of public body found at OR Statute 192.610 (dead link) would presumably include the state legislature, it has not been challenged or held up in court.
The act requires that all public bodies provide reasonable notice to the public for meetings. For special meetings, the act requires at least 24 hours notice to the public and any media outlets who have requested notice. Emergency meetings can be called with less than 24 hours notice provided that the minutes account for the emergency.
All meetings must be conducted within the geographical jurisdiction of the public body. Minutes must be kept of all meetings, including the time and place of the meeting, the members in attendance, any subjects discussed and any votes taken. Minutes must be kept of executive sessions in either written form or in audio form and are not required to be released.
|Common executive session exemptions|
|Personal privacy (including employees)|
|Purchase or sale of property|
|Exempt under other laws|
Governing bodies may hold executive sessions for the following reasons:
- to consider employment
- dismissal or disciplinary hearings
- labor negotiation strategy
- property negotiation strategy
- to consider records exempt under the Oregon Public Records Law
- for business in which the public body is in competition with other organizations
- matters relating to attorney-client privilege and pending litigation
- to evaluate employee performance
- negotiations related to the exchange of public investments
- licensing meetings of health professional regulation boards
- State Landscape Architect Board to consider investigation information
- security information
News media should be allowed to attend executive sessions, with the exception of labor negotiations and discussing litigation relating to news agencies, so long as they agree to keep certain information confidential per the request of the public body. No final actions may be taken during an executive session.
Any individual may commence an action in circuit court within 60 days concerning the violation of the open meetings law. If the court finds a violation, it may void any action taken during the meeting in question. It may also assess fines to include attorney fees on the public body. Individuals may also file complaints with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, who may review cases and issue civil penalties.
State of Oregon
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