Washington State law (Chapter 42.56 RCW) requires that identifiable public records be made available promptly to members of the public for inspection and copying upon request. Only records that are exempt by law may be withheld from disclosure. Allowable exemptions are detailed in RCW 42.56.050, 42.56.070, 42.56.210, 42.56.230, and 42.56.300. These exemptions are generally intended to prevent invasion of privacy and the use of public records for personal, commercial or political gain. They include, but are not limited to:
Information regarding agency personnel, such as social security numbers, home phone numbers, home addresses, resumés and employment applications:
- Data, the disclosure or information of which if disclosed could result in private gain and/or public loss.
- Drafts and intra-agency memos that express an opinion, formulate policy, or make recommendations.
- Correspondence between agency staff and the Attorney General's Office.
- Information whose release would constitute an invasion of privacy as defined in RCW 42.56.050.
- Records, maps, and other information that identify the location of archaeological sites, historic sites, artifacts, or the sites of traditional religious, ceremonial, or social uses and activities of affected Indian tribes.
To make a request for public records, provide the name, address, and telephone number or email address of the person requesting the record; the date on which the request is being made; and a detailed description of the requested records (subject, dates, location, etc.) to:
Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Public Disclosure
Mail: Public Disclosure, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation,
PO Box 48343, Olympia, WA 98504-8343
In accordance with the Governor’s directive, the agency will endeavor to supply public records electronically whenever possible. For paper copies there is a charge of $.15 per page for letter-size paper (two-sided copies count as one page). Postage is an additional cost.
The length of time to fulfill a public records request depends on the specific request and how many other requests the agency is processing.
Within five (5) business days of receiving the request, as required by law, the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation will respond and:
- Make the requested record(s) available; or
- Make a portion of the records available in installments as they are assembled; or
- Deny the request; or
- Acknowledge the request and provide a reasonable estimate of time needed to respond.
However please note that due to the pandemic, Public Requests may be delayed for an undisclosed time due to staff remotely working. Per the Governors Proclamation 20-28.13 delivery the 5-day response has been waived and the Proclamation amended to include waiving the portions of RCW 42.30 and RCW 42.56 that require in-person meetings or contact.
Please be advised that we are not in the office, so unfortunately no Public Records Act requests can be made face-to-face. Note that staff will not be checking mail or our fax machine. You can email your records request to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to respond timely and provide records, if possible. Most of our records are electronic and accessible, however to access to records stored in DAHP’s office, the Records Center, or the State Archives may be delayed.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation may also ask for clarification if the request is unclear.