Records Retention Schedules FAQ

Why create records retention schedules?

Oregon state and local governments produce a staggering amount and variety of records. Some need to be kept long-term for legal, fiscal, administrative or historical reasons. Others may be disposed of quickly after their usefulness expires. A government's records are an important resource to the agency and the public. Information needs to be managed with the same care, concern and skill as any other key asset.​
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What are records retention schedules?

Records retention schedules are lists and descriptions of public records. They include information about how long each type of​ records should be kept (retention period) and what should happen to it at the end of that period (disposition).​

What is a general schedule?

A general schedule applies to an entire group of state or local government entities. Thus, a city general schedule applies to the records of all cities in Oregon. The only exception is if a valid "special schedule" exists for a particul​ar state or local government entity or an office or record within that entity. In these cases, special schedules override the requirements of a general schedule.​

What is a special schedule?

A special schedule is written for each state agency to describe in detail the history, programs, and records of the agency. Special schedules set the retention requirements for the unique program records created​ by each state agency. They do not include routine administrative and financial records. Instead, these are covered in the state agency general schedule. By describing agency programs in an easy to understand format, the special schedules are designed help citizens better navigate state government. In certain cases, limited special schedules are created for local governments. Each special schedule expires five years after its creation.​

Are federal records covered by these retention schedules?

No, federal records are scheduled​ by the National Archives and Records Administration​ (NARA).​

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Are business records covered by these retention schedules?

​No, these retention schedules relate only to Oregon state and local governments. However, businesses, particularly large ones, often employ records managers to create records retention schedules in order to efficiently manage records and comply with government requirements.​​

What statutes and rules govern records retention schedules for Oregon?

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 192 and Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 16​6​ describe the authority​ and requirements related to the creation of records retention schedules for Oregon state and local governments.​​​​​​​

Where can I see general records retention schedules?

Choose from the menu on t​he Records Retention Schedules page.​​

Where can I see special records retention schedules?

Choose from the m​enu on the State Agency Records Retention Schedules page.​​

Who can I contact if I have a records retention schedule question that isn't addressed above?

Contact the records officer for the appropriate agency for questions related to a particular records retention schedule. Records officers are usually listed in the contact information for a​n agency in the Oregon Blue Book. In local government, the county clerk and city recorder are typically the designated records officers.​​​

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