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Are Oregon County Counsel Opinions “Public Record”?

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In the late 70’s through 1980’s Oregon county counsel attorneys prepared formal opinions on significant issues, sort of like Oregon Attorney General opinions. These opinions were open to the public, but used infrequently because many were soon out of date and potentially misleading to those who didn’t work with these sorts of documents on a regular basis.

If you need a particular county counsel opinion, ask a staff member in your county counsel’s office. They may have a list or an index of their opinions.

These “formal” opinions are different from other written memos, analysis, etc. that county counsel attorneys write. The latter are generally covered by the attorney-client privilege unless the client waives it. In most cases the client does use it publicly and waives – but that is determined on a case by case basis.

Some county counsel offices are using software to make storing and locating previous opinions easier to find than the paper, file-folder method of document storage. But such software and conversions cost time, labor, and not a small amount of money, and many county offices around the state are on shoe-string budgets.

More about Oregon public records laws. Keep in mind that only a fraction of the Oregon Public Records Manual is online.

And don’t forget the elusive General Orders!