Appendix L – Summaries of Oregon Appellate Court Decisions

Within this Section


    Crowfoot Elementary School District v. PERB », 19 Or App 638, 529 P2d 405 (1974).

    The court held that a prohibition on public employees from communicating with public officials during labor negotiations did not prevent teachers from appearing at school board budget meetings.

    Egge v. Lane County », 21 Or App 520, 535 P2d 773 (1975).

    Plaintiff alleged that a board of commissioners had violated the Public Meetings Law when it met and denied plaintiff’s request for a zoning variance. The court refused to reverse the board’s action because ORS 192.680 then provided that “[n]o decision shall be voided”  solely for noncompliance with Public Meetings Law.

    Southwestern Oregon Publishing Co. v. Southwestern Oregon Community College », 28 Or App 383, 559 P2d 1289 (1977).

    The court held that a retained labor negotiator was neither a public body nor a governing body; because the collective bargaining sessions were therefore not subject to meetings law, the media could be excluded.

    Smith v. School Dist. No. 45 », 63 Or App 685, 666 P2d 1345 (1983).

    The court held that the trial court had not abused its discretion in denying plaintiff’s claim for attorney fees where the meeting at issue did not involve a decision that was adverse to plaintiff.

    Barker v. City of Portland », 67 Or App 23, 676 P2d 1391 (1984).

    The court held that the Portland City Council did not violate meetings law by selectively excluding some members of the news media from an executive session held to discuss labor negotiations: news media did not have the statutory right to attend such executive sessions, and the council’s decision was “purely a matter of discretion.”

    Gilmore v. Board of Psychologist Examiners », 81 Or App 321, 725 P2d 400 (1986).

    The court held that the absence in the meeting minutes of a record of a vote did not alone constitute reversible error. The court explained that absent a showing of prejudice, the petitioner had not “rebutted the presumption that public officers perform their duties lawfully.”

    South Benton Educational Ass’n v. Monroe Union High School District #1 », 83 Or App 425, 732 P2d 58 (1987).

    The court held that meetings law did not prevent enforcement of a collective bargaining agreement reached in executive session, despite the agreement seemingly constituting a final action. The court explained that it was an unfair labor practice to refuse to sign an agreement reached through collective bargaining, and that the school district could comply with meetings law by ratifying the agreement at a public meeting.

    Barker v. City of Portland », 94 Or App 762, 767 P2d 460 (1989).

    The court held that even though the public body ceased its violations of meetings law, the suit was not moot because determining the extent of past violations and the appropriate remedy was still at issue. The court also held that the plaintiffs, as representatives of the press and as legal entities, alleged sufficient facts to have been affected by a decision of the governing body, and therefore had standing to sue. Finally, the court held that the circuit court, not district court, was the appropriate forum to hear a suit under meetings law.

    Oregon Ass’n of Classified Employees v. Salem-Keizer School District 24J », 95 Or App 28, 767 P2d 1365 (1989).

    The court held that the school district could not justify its emergency meetings  because no actual emergency existed as to the matter that was the subject of the decision, even though an emergency existed with respect to a different matter. In addition, an actual emergency could not be justified only based on convenience for the governing body’s members.

    Oregonian Publishing Co. v. Board of Parole », 95 Or App 501, 769 P2d 795 (1989).

    The court held that the Parole Board’s exemption from Public Meetings Law for the board’s deliberations did not apply to the information-gathering phase of parole hearings.

    Harris v. Nordquist », 96 Or App 19, 771 P2d 637 (1989).

    The court held that residents, employees, and taxpayers of a school district who were vitally interested in the district’s decisions and the information leading to those decisions, had standing to challenge the district’s alleged Public Meetings Law violations.

    The court also held that the board members’ gatherings at restaurants before and after board meetings did not violate ORS 192.630(2) because the evidence showed only that some members had occasionally discussed what was going on at the schools. The court explained that this was not enough to show that the members met with the purpose of deciding on or deliberating towards a decision, or that the discussions in fact involved such deliberations. Evidence that a quorum had a private gathering was not a prima facie case of a violation such that the burden shifted to the board.

    The court also held that there had been no “meeting,”  and that therefore the board did not violate the duty to keep minutes under ORS 192.650. Even if the gathering were prohibited by ORS 192.630(2), there would have been no violation of ORS 192.650 because minutes of prohibited meetings were not required.

    Finally, the court held that ORS 192.650 required minutes to be preserved for a reasonable time after a meeting, and that in this instance, one year was a reasonable time.


    Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee », 113 Or App 523, 833 P2d 337 (1992).

    The court held that groups with the goal of educating the public about animal exploitation had standing under ORS 192.680(2) to seek a declaration that a university committee charged with ensuring that animal research met certain standards violated Public Meetings Law. The court explained that the committee’s decisions, and information on which those decisions were made, had a potential impact on the groups’ ability to perform an educational role.

    Independent Contractors Research Institute v. DAS », 207 Or App 78, 139 P3d 995 (2006).

    The court held that an advisory council created by DAS to advise the Chief Procurement Officer on a certain program was exempt from Public Meetings Law because it was providing recommendations to a single official. The court explained that a single official, even one who is an officer of a named group, is not a “public body.”

    Krisor v. Henry »256 Or App 56, 300 P3d 199 (2013).

    The court held that a challenge to a county fair board’s hiring decision was moot because the hired employee was no longer employed, and there was no reason to believe that any future improper hiring decisions would evade a court’s review.

    Rivas v. Board of Parole », 277 Or App 76, 369 P3d 1239 (2016).

    The court held that the Parole Board did not violate Public Meetings Law by using a file-pass procedure to decide whether to order an additional psychological evaluation for an offender. This procedure involved passing the file from board member to board member, with each one commenting on the form in private. The court explained that this procedure did not violate ORS 192.630(1) because it was not a contemporaneous gathering of the board and was therefore not a “meeting.” The procedure did not violate ORS 192.630(2) because the board’s deliberations are expressly exempt from the meetings law under ORS 192.690(1).

    Handy v. Lane County », 360 Or 605, 385 P3d 1016 (2016), rev’g in part 274 Or App 644 », 362 P3d 867 (2015).

    The Supreme Court held that plaintiff had not produced sufficient evidence, in responding to an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, that a quorum of the county commission had met in private to decide on or deliberate toward a decision on how to respond to a public records request. The court explained that a commissioner’s passive receipt of an e-mail discussing the records request was not sufficient to establish that the commissioner had decided or deliberated on how to respond to the request.

    In reaching the opposite conclusion, the Court of Appeals had held that a quorum could meet in violation of ORS 192.630(2) through a series of e-mails and person-to-person conversations, even though no single exchange involved a quorum of commissioners. The dissent concluded that a violation could occur only if there were a contemporaneous gathering of the quorum (whether in-person or electronically). The Supreme Court did not reach this issue in its opinion.

    In the portion of its opinion not reviewed by the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals held that the decision to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the public records request did not violate Public Meetings Law because the county charter did not require a vote of a quorum to hold such a meeting.

    TriMet v. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 », 362 Or 484, 412 P3d 162 (2018), aff’g 276 Or App 513 », 368 P3d 50.

    The court held that TriMet failed to establish that its collective bargaining team’s private sessions with the union’s team could not violate Public Meetings Law. The court rejected TriMet’s argument that, assuming the bargaining team was a governing body, there would be no violation due to the team’s lack of a quorum requirement to transact its business. The court first explained that a governing body can “meet” for purposes of ORS 192.630(2) without convening a formal “meeting” under ORS 192.630(1). The court then explained that the bargaining team, and every governing body, has a quorum because there is always “some minimum number of members that must participate in order for the body to be competent to transact business.”

    The court also held that ORS 192.660(3) did not require labor negotiations to be held in a “meeting.” It required only that “when a public body conducts labor negotiations in sessions that qualify as ‘meetings,’ they must be ‘open’ unless the parties agree otherwise.”

    State v. Seidel », 294 Or App 389 (2018).

    The court upheld the conviction of a disruptive member of the public who disobeyed a police officer’s order to leave a city council meeting. Although Public Meetings Law requires that “all persons be permitted to attend any meeting,” this was intended to open governmental decision-making to the public, not to prevent public bodies from maintaining order at meetings.