Central Oregon newspaper files suit over open records request

Oct 27, 2011

Bend-based Western Communications is suing Deschutes County’s District Attorney alleging that Patrick Flaherty violated the law when he denied a public records request submitted by the company’s flagship paper, the Bend Bulletin.

In a letter sent this past July, Bulletin reporter Hillary Borrud asked the DA for the job applications of two attorneys recently hired by his office. Flaherty’s response came a week later. He denied the request claiming the information was exempt under Oregon law. The lawsuit claims that Flaherty never cited the statutory basis for his denial.

The Bulletin now wants a judge to overturn Flaherty’s decision and release the records.

Calls to the Bulletin’s Editor-in-Chief John Costa were not returned Thursday. Flaherty was unavailable for comment.

This isn’t the first time the paper and the DA have clashed over public records requests.

Back in February, Flaherty convened a grand jury to investigate a similar public records dispute.

In that case information released to the Bulletin contained protected information such as drivers’ license numbers.

Flaherty’s decision to convene that grand jury is under investigation by the Oregon State Bar.

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