In accordance with City of Seattle's commitment to an open and responsive process for public disclosure, the City of Seattle has put together the following resource for requesting city records. In November 2009, Executive departments also adopted a centralized administrative procedure for improving access to public records in accordance with Council ordinance 122969 and RCW Chapter 42.56.

Please visit this website often for updates on the implementation of the policies in this document.

Public Rule for the Executive Branch

Public Disclosure Request Process

Making a Public Disclosure Request

Departments maintain separate records and filing systems. Records are kept for both business needs and public access.

Sending your request(s) to the department(s) that maintains the record you need is the best way to get the information you need. Find the correct Public Disclosure Officer(s).

To aid in determining the appropriate department you may want to review City of Seattle department descriptions.

You may also want to visit the individual sites for each department.

At a minimum, please include the following information in your request.

  • Your name and contact information: mailing address, telephone and or an email address
  • Sufficient information to identify the public record: the more information that you can provide about the record desired, the quicker and better the response is likely to be. 
  • Date range for requested documents: dates can be a specific date or they can be a date range.

City Public Disclosure Officers

Departments maintain separate records and filing systems. Records are kept for both business needs and public access.

Sending your request(s) to the department(s) that maintains the record you need is the best way to get the information you need.

Please see the following link for a list of the current contacts for each city department: City Public Disclosure Officers - Adobe Acrobat PDF (List updated 3/4/2013)

To aid in determining the appropriate department you may want to review City of Seattle department descriptions.

You may also want to visit the individual sites for each department.

Responses to Public Disclosure Requests

Within five business days after the receipt of a  request, City public disclosure officers will do one or more of the following:

  • Make requested records available for inspection or copying
  • Acknowledge the receipt of request and provide a reasonable estimate of when requested records will be available
  • Seek clarification of unclear requests
  • Deny the request and cite the legal exemption
  • Common Exemptions RCW 42.56.210 through 42.56.510

Charges for Copies of Public Records

  • There is no charge for inspecting public records.
  • Black and white copies (8 ½ x 11) are 15 cents per page
  • Mailing includes actual cost of postage and shipping container
  • Other media such as disks will incur the actual cost of the disks
  • Large Requests
    • The city may charge a deposit of up to ten percent of the estimated cost of an entire request before copying records
    • May be provided in installments

Some of the Online Record Resources at the City of Seattle

If you are interested in non-current records, you may want to contact the city Archives.