Q1: What are public records?

The Public Records Act is a Washington State law that allows you to review government records. Public records include documents in all formats, whether electronic or paper, that relate to government operations or conduct.

Q2: How is access to Port public records governed?

The Public Records Act, RCW 42.56, requires public agencies to make identifiable, non-exempt public records available for inspection and copying upon request and to publish procedures to inform the public how access to public records will be accomplished. Port of Seattle Policy and Procedure EX-19 provides the public full and timely access to information concerning the conduct of government, mindful of individuals’ privacy rights and the desirability of efficient administration. These procedures will be guided by the provision of the Act describing its purposes and interpretation. This procedure is applicable to all departments but is not applicable to Police Department records subject to Chapter 10.97 RCW.)

Q3: When will I receive a response to my public disclosure request?

You will receive a response within five business days. The Port will respond in one of several ways:

  1. Provide the records (or a link to the portion of our website that contains the records).
  2. Request clarification.
  3. Provide a reasonable estimate of time that it will take to produce the records (if the documents are not readily available).
  4. Give you estimated timeframes for delivery of large requests. The Port may have to produce the records on a partial or installment basis. The Port will also provide the estimated timeframes for each incremental delivery as we work through your request.
  5. Deny the request in whole or in part when legal exemptions apply. The Port may either withhold the requested records or redact the exempt documents and will include an explanation of reasons for the exemption.

Q4: Is there a fee?

There is no fee for electronic records that are provided electronically or for the in-person inspection of public records. The Port may charge .15 cents per page for paper copies of records or other actual costs associated with mailing or producing the records. If you request paper copies, you understand that there may be charges for duplication of these specific records, per the Port’s published fee schedule. Requesting records and not paying for the associated costs will mean that you must pay for them before the next request will be released.

Please refer to the Fee Schedule for printing and copying details. You can also review information on the Public Records Index.

Q5: What records are exempt from disclosure?

Exemptions are listed in the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56, while others are found elsewhere in Washington state and federal law. Many of these exemptions are designed to protect privacy rights and legitimate business interests.

Q6: What if I only have a question or want general information?

General questions or requests for information are not typically Public Disclosure Requests. The Port of Seattle is not required to create new records, collect or analyze information, or conduct legal research under the Public Records Act. If you have general questions or would like more information about the Port of Seattle that you can’t locate from our website, call (206) 787-3000.

Helpful Links:

Port of Seattle Public Disclosure Policy

Public Records and Tort Claims