Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Public Record?

A “Public Record” means any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by The County regardless of physical form or characteristics. Records created or received by employees using privately-owned devices only qualify as public record if the employee was acting within the scope of employment when the record was created or received, or when the record is subsequently used for a County purpose.

How do I request records from Lewis County?

Lewis County utilizes a web-based Records Center, Gov QA, for submission, tracking and delivery of records requests. You can use this portal to submit a request, track the status of public records request and download responsive records. Get started by selecting one of the tiles on the Public Records page. Requests can also be submitted by using the Lewis County’s Public Records Request form. That completed form can be submitted in person, by email (, by USPS Mail or by Fax.

How quickly can I receive a public disclosure request?

The County must make a preliminary response within 5 business days. The response may be to provide the records, but may also be to indicate a time frame within which the County may reasonably fulfill the request or provide an installment schedule. (Note: Over the past few years, County has experienced an unprecedented increase in the volume and complexity of PRA requests it receives. The County responds to each request within the time frame that reasonably and fairly allocates resources to that request.)

How do I get copies of my divorce paperwork?

To obtain copies of documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court, please contact the Lewis County Clerk's Office by mail or in person at 345 W Main Street, 2nd Floor, Chehalis WA 98532 or by calling (360) 740-2704.

What information should I include in my request?

It's helpful to include as much information as you can, such as document titles, specific dates, times, addresses, and case numbers allow County staff to more effectively locate documents pertaining to your request.

Is my request confidential?

Public disclosure requests received by Lewis County are public records. Absent applicable exemptions, public disclosure requests are subject to disclosure upon request. This includes any personal information a requestor provides to the County in making a public disclosure request, such as name, residential address, email address or telephone number.

What is third party notification?

If records contain information that may affect others and may be exempt from disclosure, the County may send a notice to those parties informing them of the request prior to providing the records to the requestor.

What is a Multi Requester?

A “Multiple Requestor” is defined as an individual, group, entity, organization or internet protocol address that submits a public records request to the County while an earlier records request is still open from that Requestor. At the time of the adoption of the County’s Policy, if a Requestor has more than 5 pending records requests with any Lewis County entity, Lewis County will designate the Requestor as a “Multiple Requestor” and all requests will be processed pursuant to Section D and E of the County’s Policy.

Must the County create a document when responding to a specific request for public disclosure?

No. Washington case law has established that an agency is not required to create a record which is otherwise non-existent.

Can I See All County Records?

No, Federal, State and/or county law restricts access to some records. The county may withhold restricted records in their entirety, or may "redact" (black out) part of a record depending on the statutory rules.

Can the County utilize an installment methodology to respond to my records request?

Yes. When a request is made for a large number of records, the Public Records Officer (PRO) may provide access for inspection and copying in installments, if he or she reasonably determines that it would be practical to provide the records in that manner. If, within 30 days, the requestor fails to inspect the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the PRO may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request. Likewise, if payment for an installment is not made, the PRO may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.

What Happens if I Don't Pick up the Requested Records?

You must claim or review the assembled records within 30 days after the county notifies you that the records are available for inspection, copying or mailing. If you fail to claim or review the records within the 30-day time period (or make other arrangements) the request will be closed.

When is a request considered abandoned?

If a requestor fails to fulfill their obligations to inspect, respond to clarification from by County staff, fail to claim or review the records, or make any payment in the allotted time period, the County may close the request and consider it abandoned.