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City of The Dalles v. Rogoway

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  1. Freedom of Information

Case Number: 21CV42306

Court: Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the County of Wasco

Clients: Mike Rogoway and Advance Local Media LLC, d/b/a Oregonian Media Group

Complaint Filed: Oct. 29, 2021

Background: In September 2021, Mike Rogoway, a business reporter for The Oregonian, submitted a public records request with the city of The Dalles seeking records concerning Google’s local water usage. The tech giant uses water to cool its data centers, some of which are located in The Dalles.

The city denied the request, arguing that the requested records are “trade secrets” exempt from disclosure under the Oregon Public Records Law.

After The Oregonian sought review of the city’s response, the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the city of The Dalles failed to meet its burden to show that Google’s water usage is a trade secret and ordered the city to disclose the requested records. The city then filed a reverse-public records lawsuit against Rogoway and The Oregonian seeking to prevent the release of information about Google’s local water usage.

Ellen Osoinach, the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative attorney in Oregon, is representing The Oregonian in this matter.

Quote: “Google’s attempt to cloak its use of a vital community resource — water — is irreconcilable with the requirements of Oregon public records law,” Osoinach told The Oregonian. “Oregonians have a right to this important information.”

Filings:

2021-10-29: Complaint