Allow us to start this discussion with a couple of research statistics:
• During an average week, 85 percent of adults in Oregon read a daily Sunday or weekly newspaper.
• It’s no surprise, then, that 51 percent of Oregonians prefer their official public notices to appear in newspapers, 30 percent by mail, and 15 percent through the internet (where Oregon newspapers also post all public notices free of charge). The figure goes up when just those who read public notices are asked: 78 percent of Oregonians prefer newspapers as their source.
Now let’s try your own habits: Where do you look for official public notices of government meetings and activities?
No matter all those preferences and habits, the Oregon Association of Broadcasters is asking the Oregon Legislature to allow radio and television stations to air some official public notices.
Newspapers in Oregon, including the Pilot, have worked for decades to provide Oregonians with accurate, effective, consistent and lasting public records of public notices. Newspapers have worked with lawmakers to keep the costs in check. At their own expense, newspapers have created a website where every published public notice in the state appears, and is archived for Oregonians to find with a simple search engine. (You can try it out for yourself at www.publicnoticeads.com/or.) At no extra charge, newspapers provide notarized clippings of public notices so that a clear record exists.
Our own House Rep. Wayne Krieger will be one of the co-chairs of the committee considering the broadcasters’ bill early in March. Let him know what you think of how public notices should be handled.