Port loses Sierra Club records case

2013-01-30T11:00:00Z Port loses Sierra Club records case Coos Bay World
January 30, 2013 11:00 am

COOS BAY — The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay says it will review its public records policies, after a local judge ruled against the port in a dispute with the Sierra Club.

Coos County Circuit Court Judge Paula Bechtold ruled Monday that the port violated both Oregon law and the Sierra Club's constitutional rights, by refusing to waive fees for supplying port records to the group.

Oregon law lets public agencies charge reasonable fees for making public records available to members of the public. But agencies must waive the fees if the request for records is deemed to be in the public interest.

According to a port news release this morning, Bechtold ruled that the port must waive the fees and bear the costs of responding to the Sierra Club's request. The port says those costs will include thousands of dollars in attorney fees for reviewing the records and determining which parts might be exempt from disclosure.

Bechtold also held that the port violated the Sierra Club's constitutional rights by requesting documentation to support its request for a waiver, the news release said.

'I am particularly troubled by the court's finding that the port's handling of this matter somehow violated the Constitution," port CEO David Koch said in the news release. 'That was certainly not the port's intention, and we are committed to reviewing the port's public records policies and procedures with outside legal counsel and forwarding any recommended changes to the port commission."

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(5) Comments

  1. sandman450
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    sandman450 - February 05, 2013 10:15 am
    Just another instance of the Sierra Club causing problems for the majority under the guise of helping the public. These enviro-terrorists are destroying our public resources via frivilous court actions and need to be stopped!
  2. bes
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    bes - January 31, 2013 4:55 pm
  3. m00npenny
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    m00npenny - January 31, 2013 12:18 pm
    Sorry for those who pay any regular fees or costs to the Port. You can depend on those all going up now that the Port must absorb the cost of what will surely be a "nit picking fest" by the Sierra Club.
  4. Coobayite2
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    Coobayite2 - January 30, 2013 1:32 pm
    That's what happens when the people in-charge are not knowledgeable. The Port is a part of the State of Oregon and not their private company like they seem to think.
  5. Sujameco
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    Sujameco - January 30, 2013 12:47 pm
    Congratulations Sierra Club on achieving what probably is the first instance of the Coos Bay Port Commission ever being held accountable for anything since it was turned into an unelected body in the 1980's.
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