The Port of Portland, Ore., responding to reports last week that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union had filed a lawsuit against the port over alleged violations of the Oregon Public Records Act, said that at "no time" did it deny access to records.
The ILWU and the port agree that the union made a series of public records requests for port records in June, September and December of 2012. The port, however, said in an e-mail to The Journal of Commerce on Monday that the $200,000 cost estimate referenced by the ILWU for access to the records is “misleading.” The amount was “reduced substantially last year,” a port spokesman wrote.
“The estimate for providing records to the ILWU’s June 11, 2012, requests has not been $200,000 since Nov. 16, 2012, when the port subtracted port review of 195 boxes of requested materials from the original estimate,” the spokesman wrote. Because of this change, the port made those records “immediately available” to the union and initially reduced the revised estimate down to $125,000. Later on, following improvements to the port’s information technology processing, the estimates for providing the requested records were reduced to $37,434 for the June requests, $8,541 for the September requests and $3,472 for the December requests, totaling $49,447 for all three requests.
“As a result of the breadth of their requests, we are requiring pre-payment of costs as allowed under Oregon’s Public Records Act,” the spokesman wrote. “We have worked with the ILWU to clarify their requests in order to reduce the cost of locating, reviewing and producing the records. We have also offered to work with the ILWU on a reasonable payment plan, but so far the ILWU has not responded to that offer.”
Furthermore, the port said it has already fulfilled a portion of the ILWU’s requests in a “timely manner” consistent with its policies.