Public Records Requests

Like other cities, Newcastle uses and keeps a wide variety of documents and information in paper and electronic form. Reports, emails, contracts, spreadsheets, permitting data, even photographs and video recordings are just some examples. Anyone can
ask for access to these records, and in fact many of them are already available in the city’s online document center or elsewhere on the city’s website.

Access to Records

To provide access to city records not already available online, Newcastle provides a
records portal where anyone can request records. When requesting records, enter a description that will help us locate the records you want. The exact title or name of a document isn’t necessary, but if you know it, include it and other helpful information, such as a date range or the department or staff position responsible for the record. You will be asked for contact information so staff can communicate with you about your request and provide you with the records.

Requests can be submitted in person or by mail if needed, and requests received this way will be entered into the records portal. To submit a request this way, a records request form is provided. The physical and mailing address for city hall is 12835 Newcastle Way, Suite 200, Newcastle, WA 98056.

Often, city staff can easily provide information or frequently requested records without the need to submit a formal request. Normal business hours for city hall are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding legal holidays). The city’s main phone number is 425-649-4444.

It is important to note that not all government records are held by the City of Newcastle. Police records can be obtained from the King County Sheriff's Office. Fire department records are available from the City of Bellevue Fire Department. Building permits predating the city's 1994 incorporation may be available from King County or the City of Renton. School records are held by the School Districts of Bellevue, Renton, or Issaquah. Records are also available from Federal, State, and County governments.

The rules governing access to public records are found primarily in the Washington State Public Records Act (Chapter 42.56 RCW). City rules and procedures are found in Chapter 2.40 of the Newcastle Municipal Code and the city’s records disclosure policy.

Responding to Records Requests

When using the city’s records portal, requestors immediately receive acknowledgment of their requests with a reference number and link where records and information are made available. Within five business days of receiving a records request, the records officer will respond by 1) providing access to or copies of the record, 2) providing a reasonable time estimate to complete the request, 3) providing an edited record with an explanation of the legal basis for removing some of the content, or 4) denying the request in part or in full based on a legal exemption.


Some records are exempt from disclosure in whole or in part. Many of these exemptions are found in the Public Records Act itself, but exemptions can be found throughout state statutes. A list of common exemptions not found in the Public Records Act is available on the city’s website. For more information on disclosure exemptions and other aspects of the Public Records Act, we recommend the resources of the Municipal Research and Services Center.

Obtaining Copies

Once city staff locate, retrieve, and review records for exempt content, the files will be uploaded to the records portal. Physical copies also can be provided. Administrative, or copy, charges may apply and must be received before documents are delivered. Applicable charges are spelled out in the city’s current fee schedule. The most common fees incurred are for paper copies ($0.15 per page), scans of paper records ($0.10 per page), and electronic transmission of electronic records ($0.05 per 4 files). For most fees, the city will waive the cost when the charges for a single request don’t exceed $7.50. That’s equivalent to 50 paper copies, 75 scans of paper records, or 600 files delivered electronically.

Requestors may arrange to review records in person, and there is no charge for in-person review. If in-person review takes more than 10 minutes, special procedures will apply.

For very large requests, records may be provided in installments and a deposit arrangement may be made to cover applicable fees.

Closing Records Requests

Records requests will be closed once all the responsive records have been provided. There are times when failure to respond to clarification requests or failure to collect or pay applicable fees will cause a request to be closed even though it hasn’t been fulfilled. The records officer will give the requestor notice when this happens, and usually a request can be reopened or resubmitted if needed.

Let Us Know

We want to know if your experience accessing records is satisfactory and if you have suggestions for improvement. We may not be able to implement every suggestion, but we still want to hear from you about the process and respond to any concerns or recommendations. You can email the city clerk at [email protected] and the clerk’s phone number is 425-386-4114. 

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