Request Access to Public Records

/Request Access to Public Records
Request Access to Public Records 2018-03-12T16:21:45+00:00

The City of Lynden responds to requests for access to public records in accordance with RCW 42.56, Public Records Act (PRA).  The City does not have a single index of City records.  The City  determined by Resolution No. 704, that maintaining an index would create an unreasonable and undue burden on the City and would substantially interfere with City operations due to the amount of staff time and costs associated with such a task.

The City encourages and prefers that requests for public records be submitted in writing on the City’s Request Form.  However, other written formats such as email are acceptable and should include the requester’s name and address, daytime phone number, the specific records being requested and whether the requester wants to inspect the records or have records copied for a fee.  Verbal requests for records will be transferred to a request form by the staff receiving the request. Requests can also be delivered to the City in person or through postal mail.

In order to provide the best customer service and to ensure compliance with state law all Public Records Requests shall be directed to one of the following locations:

General Government Records Information:
City Clerk
300 Fourth Street
Lynden, WA  98264
360-354-1170, Option #5

Lynden Police Department Records Information:
Lynden Police Department
203 19th Street
Lynden, WA  98264

Lynden Municipal Court
Municipal Court Clerk
300 Fourth Street
Lynden, WA  982364

If the requester or staff member is unsure of where to file the request it shall be filed with the City Clerk’s office who will then determine which department(s) to notify.

The City will respond to a request within five business days (begins one day after receipt of the request) and shall respond by one of the following ways:

  • Provide the record, or the portion of the record(s) subject to disclosure, after the payment of applicable fees;
  • Ask for clarification of the request;
  • Acknowledge the City’s receipt of the request, accompanied by an estimate of time necessary for further response;
  • Deny the request accompanied by an explanation of the basis of denial;
  • Request a deposit for the records requested while the records are being gathered.

Additional time to respond to a request may be based upon the need to clarify the intent of the request, to locate and assemble the information requested, to provide third party notifiation and/or to determine whether any of the information requested is exempt and subject to redaction.

RCW 42.56.070(9) prohibits the use of lists of individuals for commercial purposes.  “Commercial purposes” means that the person requesting the record intends that the list will be used to communicate with the individuals named in the record for the purpose of facilitating profit-expecting activity.  The PRA at RCW 42.56.080 authorizes agencies to require a requester to provide information as to the purpose of a request “to establish whether inspection and copying would violate RCW 42.56.070(9).  In order to ensure compliance the City may require the requester to complete a Declaration Regarding Commercial Purposes form.

The Public Records Act does not require the City to create documents to comply with a request for specific information.  Rather, we will produce existing records for review and copying.  Also, the City is not obligated to compile information  from various records so that requested information is in a format that is more useful to the requester.


A fee of $0.15 per page per side shall be charged for letter or legal-sized copies of records.

A fee of $2.00 shall be charged for a CD or DVD.  All applicable mailing costs and postage fees will be charged.

 Non-standard sized copies (over sized copies, photographs and plans) will be charged at the actual cost. In come instances an outside vendor may be used due to volume, current workload of city staff or unique nature of the request.  The cost will then be the actual cost charged by the vendor.

For further information about the Public Records Disclosure process please contact City Clerk Pam Brown at 360-255-7085.