Public Records Requests

A public record is any state or local record relating to the conduct of government or the performance of a governmental function, and which is prepared or retained by any state or local agency. The record may be in a variety of forms such as writing, a recording, a picture, an electronic disk, a magnetic tape, etc.

The City Clerk is the City of Olympia's Records Officer. It is the role of this office to assure the City is in compliance with the Public Records Act and the City's Public Disclosure Policy. This includes providing public access to current and historical documents. The City of Olympia provides access to public records under the provisions of the Washington State Public Records Act (RCW 42.56).

All records maintained by the City of Olympia are available for public inspection unless specifically exempted by law. You are entitled to access public records, under reasonable conditions, and to copies of those records upon paying the costs of making the copy. In most cases, you do not have to explain why you want the records. However, specific information may be necessary to process your request. We may require information necessary to establish if disclosure would violate certain provisions of law.

The more precisely you can identify the record you seek, the more responsive we can be. The City of Olympia provides access to existing public records in its possession; however, the City is not required to collect information or organize data to create a record not existing at the time of the request.

How to submit a public records request

Please call 360.753.8325 or email with any questions. You can submit most requests online, or by emailing, mailing or faxing the Public Records Request Form to the City Clerks' Office at City Hall, 601 4th Ave. E., Olympia, WA 98501, or any City office. Requests submitted by email will only be accepted if sent to

Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to open the forms.


You may submit your request on the City of Olympia's Public Records Request form or in another written format that contains the following information:

  1. Name of requester;
  2. Date of request;
  3. Phone, email, and/or address or other contact information of requester;
  4. Identification of the public records adequate for the public records officer or designee to locate the records (title and date, if known);
  5. Location (department) of the requested records, if known;
  6. Whether the requester intends to inspect the records or obtain a photocopy of the records, at the cost set forth in Section 6.15 of the City's City's Public Disclosure Policy; and
  7. Method by which the City should contact the requester.

How the City will respond to your Public Records Request

Within five business days of receipt of the request (day one is the first working day after the request is received), the City will do one or more of the following:

  1. Make the records available for inspection or copying; or
  2. Identify an internet location where the record can be accessed. Requesters who cannot access the internet may be provided hard copies or access to a City terminal to access the record; or
  3. If copies are requested and payment of a deposit for the copies, if any, is made or terms of payment are agreed upon, send the copies to the requester; or
  4. Provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available; or
  5. If the requester is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records, request clarification from the requester. Such clarification may be requested and provided by telephone. The public records officer or designee may revise the estimate of when records will be available; or
  6. Deny the request.


Cities are not allowed to charge for the staff time spent in locating a public record, or for making a record available for inspection. A city can however, charge for the actual costs connected with copying public records, including the staff time spent making the copies. A city cannot charge more than fifteen cents a page for photocopying unless the city has calculated its actual costs per page and determined that they are greater than fifteen cents. Actual costs for postage and delivery can be included, as well as the cost of any envelopes. If a city has to pay an outside source for making duplicates of records such as photographs, blueprints or tape recordings, the city can also pass those costs on to the requestor. RCW 42.56.070(7) & (8) and RCW 42.56.120.

Basic Fee Schedule

Service Fee
Review of requested records No charge
20 pages or less No charge
21 or more pages

$.15 per page for paper copies (charge includes first 20 pages)
$.10 per page for hard copy records that are scanned into electronic format (charge includes first 20 pages)

Actual charge If materials need to be copied by an outside source due to volume, current work load of City staff, or any other reason, the requestor pays the actual amount invoiced to the City by the vendor.
Mailing envelopes or packaging Actual cost of supplies
Postage In the event a records request is estimated to exceed $25.00, the City, at its discretion, may require the requestor to deposit an amount not to exceed 10% of the estimated cost prior to the duplication of the record(s).

*NOTE: Fees may be charged above the basic fee schedule if a department has determined specific charges for a particular record.