Oregon Public Records Key Terms

Learn the basic terms when it comes to Oregon public records

Finding public records can be an overwhelming task without a good understanding of how and where records are kept. Make sure you know a few key terms before you begin a records search.

Whether you are conducting a criminal background check or looking for a driving history report, you'll need to know where to begin your search and what specific terms you may run across.


Public records unit


The Oregon State Police Public Records Unit is in charge of securely distributing criminal history reports to those who request them, such as for employment verification. The unit provides criminal history record checks for those looking for their own history report and those looking for a third party report.

Public records petition


A public records petition is a request made to the Oregon attorney general to view public records that have been denied to an individual. The petition is made if citizens think they are being denied access to any form of public record that should be viewable by all. The attorney general responds to the petition with an order determining whether the record should be public.

Vital records


The term vital records refers to important life documents such as birth, death, marriage or divorce certificates. Each state handles the distribution of vital records differently. Oregon's vital records are available through the Center for Health Statistics.

Court records


Court records can be public or closed (private) depending on the case circumstances and ages of those involved in the case. The public records section of the Oregon Courts Systems explains the differences.

Oregon Public Records Law


The Oregon Public Records Law is a compilation of several laws passed to make government records available to the public. The law is designed to make the government accountable and accessible to all. Online databases of public records can be accessed through your employee screening software.

Control document index


The control document index is a set of records kept by the Oregon Bureau of Land Records. The microfilm index includes copies of land deeds, titles and patents to and from the federal government.

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