Oregon State Archives News
State Archives Makes Goldschmidt Records Available
June 16, 2004: The Oregon State Archives is providing access to public records from Neil Goldschmidt's years as governor of Oregon and mayor of Portland. The State Archives took control of the records following numerous complaints about barriers to public access. Previously, requests for access were reviewed by Goldschmidt's representatives and attorneys.
The controversy dates back to the end of Goldschmidt's term as governor from 1987 to 1991. When Goldschmidt left office, state law required public access to a governor's records but allowed them to be stored outside the State Archives. In 1990, the State Archivist asked Goldschmidt to deposit his records at the State Archives. Instead, Goldschmidt placed them at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland. The Oregon Legislature then passed a law compelling transfer of future governors’ records to the State Archives.
The Oregon Historical Society accepted over 200 boxes of records, most of which were created during his time as governor. Also included were materials from before Goldschmidt entered politics as well as from his time as a Portland city commissioner, the city’s mayor, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Both the State Archives and the Historical Society received requests to view the records before and after May 6, when Goldschmidt admitted to sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was mayor of Portland.
Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who oversees the State Archives, intervened to compel the transfer of the records for the purpose of making them accessible to the public. The first shipment of 39 boxes, which had been the subject of multiple public records requests, was accepted by the Archives in early June. The records included some labeled “confidential” or “sensitive,” which were reviewed by the State Archives before being made available to the public. Two subsequent transfers brought 75 additional boxes into custody as of June 16. A review process will be ongoing to remove any personal material from these records as well. When the review process is complete, the remaining records will be available for public disclosure. For more information, contact Layne Sawyer, (503) 373-0701 x239.