Oregon. Department of Environmental Quality, Political participation
In February 2016, researchers from the US Forest Service had detected toxics in moss samples adjacent to several businesses in Portland. This began a series of events that highlighted both the significance of public records requests and the difficulty Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has in responding to complex requests.
The interest in issues related to air toxics put a strain on the capacity of the agency to respond in a timely fashion to the news media as well as citizens groups.
In August 2016, DEQ retained the Center for Public Service (CPS) to provide an outside evaluation of its efforts to improve the handling of future public records requests and to recommend improvements to the way they engage the public.
CPS evaluated DEQ’s public records response processes and recommended a series of improvements. These included the creation of two new positions, with one in charge of public engagement and public records response, and the other reporting to this manager, but focused on responding to public records requests.
Portland State University. Hatfield School of Government. Center for Public Service; Keisling, Phil; Marriott, Dan; Ingle, Marcus; Saltzberg, Sara; and Dzeguze, Andrew, "Improving Public Engagement and Public Records Management at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality" (2016). Center for Public Service Publications and Reports. 30.