Oregon Background Checks and Public Records

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State of Oregon

The State of Oregon, the ninth largest state, is located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The state has a fluctuating population due to its rise in technology and other emerging industries. It would be wise to look into other states when conducting a background check in Oregon.

Counties in Oregon 

BakerDeschutesJeffersonMalheurUmatilla
BentonDouglasJosephineMarionUnion
ClackamasGilliamKlamathMorrowWallowa
ClatsopGrantLakeMultnomahWasco
ColumbiaHarneyLanePolkWashington
CoosHood RiverLincolnShermanWheeler
CrookJacksonLinnTillamookYamhill
Curry

Where To Get Public Records In Oregon 

Vital records in Oregon are handled by the Oregon Health Authority’s Oregon Center for Health Statistics Vital Records and Certificates. Such records, including birth and death records and marriage and divorce records, are also available at the local health department in Oregon counties. Access will depend on the relationship of the requestor to the person/s on record. 

The Oregon State Police handles criminal records. In Oregon, the person on record must be notified of the access request and has 14 days to challenge the accuracy of the record information. Employers in Oregon must inform a prospective employee of a criminal record request and must indicate on the request form how the record holder was informed. Oregon criminal history records may provide less information especially if there are only non-convictions or no rap sheets altogether (in which case you will simply receive a “no criminal record” report).

Inmate records are handled by the Oregon Department of Corrections. They also host the Oregon Department of Corrections Offender Search web portal to find offenders in the state. The Oregon Judicial Department handles court records and provides online access to limited case information across all courts through the Oregon Judicial Department Online Records Search. The information available through the online portal includes basic case information, party information, event entries, and dispositions on a particular court record.

Land records, including property ownership and land grant information, are handled by the Oregon Secretary of State. Deeds are maintained at a county level. Property tax records are handled by the  Department of Revenue, particularly the relevant property tax assessor. Property tax records usually include information on current ownership, history of the property’s ownership, and whether the owner is current on their taxes.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Oregon 

The State of Oregon enacted a law in 1973 is similar to the federal law. The Oregon Public Records Law guarantees public access to open records and documents from all levels of every government agency. Open or public records include “any writing that contains information that relates to the conduct of the public’s business, is prepared, owned, used, or maintained by a public body regardless of physical form or characteristics.”

One can use the Oregon Sample FOIA Request template, created by the National Freedom of Information Coalition, to request a public record. Any member of public bodies and public officials in their personal capacity can request a public record. There are no residential restrictions and the requestor is not required to state a reason for the request. Stating the reason may, however, be useful especially if the record or document being requested is under conditional exemptions.

The exemptions in Oregon include records containing personal information, matters of public safety, addresses of elected officials, and more. Oregon does not have a designated property custodian. There is no specific deadline set for state agencies to respond to a public record request. There is no appeals option in case of refusal; the requestor may, however, file a lawsuit. Fees must only be for the actual searching and copying costs; when the fee exceeds $25, the agency must inform the requester before proceeding.

If you want a hassle-free way to obtain records, you may also opt for a third-party people search engine and background check services.

Oregon Background Check Reports

It is crucial to keep in mind that while public records may be accessed by anyone, Oregon background checks can only be initiated with the subject’s written consent. To start, you must fill out and submit a request form to the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Background, particularly criminal background checks in Oregon is subject to federal and state laws. Employers, for instance, who conduct background checks are bound by the restrictions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Oregon is also a ban-the-box state pursuant to HB 3205. The ban-the-box law does not apply to law enforcement agencies, nonemployee volunteers, and employees of the criminal justice information service. This prevents employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before the first interview. After the initial interview and/or a conditional employment offer is made, the employer may conduct a background check.

It also merits mentioning that Oregon has several background check-related laws. The O.R.S. 659A.320 mandates that Oregon employers may not consider an applicant’s credit history as part of a background report. This is particularly when making employment decisions except, of course, the position offered is included in the state’s list of exceptions. Oregon’s Equal Pay Act mandates that no discrimination or inequality may occur between employees in similar roles with similar job duties.

You also have the option of utilizing third-party online search engines to conduct background checks.

Oregon Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Oregon Background Checks

How do I get a criminal background check in Oregon?

To obtain your criminal records in Oregon, you need to submit a form and your fingerprint card with the Oregon State Police – CJIS Division. 

To obtain the criminal records of another person in Oregon, you must submit a form, fee, and the person’s full personal details to the Oregon State Police – CJIS Division.

How far back does a background check go in Oregon?

In the state of Oregon, background checks typically go back 7 years. 

How much does a background check cost in Oregon?

If requesting your criminal history records, you will need to pay a $33 fee for fingerprinting. If requesting another person’s criminal history records, a $10 fee is required (fingerprinting fee is not specified).

How long does a gun background check take in Oregon?

An Oregon gun background check only takes approximately 10 minutes.