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ARA-8.10 - Preparing City Record Retention Schedules

Administrative Rules Adopted by City Council (ARC)
Policy number


Administrative Rule Adopted by City Council



To provide a process for the regular updating of the City’s record retention schedule to ensure compliance with city, state and federal recordkeeping requirements. The City Record Retention Schedule is incorporated into these policies by reference.


City Code Chapter 3.76.040 authorizes the Archives and Records Management Program (A/RM) to:

L. Establish procedures for the preparation of records inventories and descriptions; develop records retention schedules for review by the City Auditor and City Attorney and which meet the requirements of Oregon Administrative Rules;

M. Establish procedures for the prompt and orderly disposition of City records for which the state archivist has granted authority to destroy because they no longer possess administrative, legal, or research value to warrant their retention;

J. Establish procedures for City agencies regarding the identification, segregation, and protection of records vital to continuing operations to comply with the City’s emergency preparedness policies;


Frequency of revision

Bureau and General retention schedules will be reviewed and updated at least every five (5) years.

If functions within a Bureau change significantly or if the makeup or nature of a Bureau’s records change significantly, the Bureau’s retention schedule (or the affected parts of it) will be revised within one year to reflect those changes.

If City functions or activities move from one Bureau to another, the affected Bureaus’ retention schedules will be updated within one year to reflect those changes.

If a new City Bureau is established, a retention schedule will be prepared for it within one year.

It is the responsibility of the Bureau Director to notify the Records Management Officer of significant changes in Bureau functions or records.

Bureau record review process

The City Auditor or designee will notify the Bureau Director in writing when it is time to update the Bureau’s retention schedule.

The Bureau Director will designate a mid-management employee to act as a liaison to the Records Management Officer and will alert Bureau employees to cooperate in the review/update process. At least one person from each division within the Bureau will be involved in the process to ensure that all records that are created or maintained by the Bureau are addressed in the retention schedule.

The Bureau liaison and designated Bureau employees, with guidance from A/RM, will conduct a review of Bureau records to determine:

  • that all records created or maintained in the course of undertaking Bureau activities and functions are part of a record series in the retention schedule (if not in the Bureau schedule itself, then in the City general schedule)
  • that record series descriptions clearly describe the nature, function and operational purpose of the records in them
  • that record series are logically grouped by the function or activity that is responsible for their creation
  • that there is no duplication of records among the records series (it is acceptable to have more than one copy of a record in a Bureau, but the retention schedule should be structured so that a particular kind of record is listed only once in the retention schedule)
  • which version of a record is the official record copy and where within the Bureau it is maintained
  • the length of time each record series should be retained for operational need

Vital records

As part of the retention schedule review process the Bureau’s vital records and record systems must be identified. The Bureau will consult with A/RM to implement appropriate methods of safeguarding these records and systems.

Establishing retention periods

As part of the review process, the Bureau indicates the length of time each record series should be retained for the Bureau’s operational need. Other necessary factors to consider for a record’s retention period are legal requirements and historical value.

The Records Analyst will research state and federal recordkeeping requirements for the record categories in each proposed retention schedule. If the legally mandated retention period is longer than that of the Bureau’s operational need, the retention period will be lengthened to comply with those requirements. If a category of records is not addressed in any state or federal recordkeeping rules, a special schedule with a proposed retention period will be created and forwarded to the State Archivist for approval. If a category of record is covered by state administrative rules and the proposed retention period complies with those rules that schedule does not need to be approved by the State Archivist. (OAR 166-030-0027)

Some records, regardless of their retention period, may have historical value that merits their inclusion in the City Archives’ historical collection. The Records Analyst will work with the City Archivist to determine whether certain record series as a whole should be retained permanently for their historical value, and whether the records in certain series should be earmarked for archival review at the end of their retention period. If a record series has a finite retention period but is made up of records that frequently have historical value, language will be included in the schedule to indicate that the Bureau should allow an archival review prior to destroying the records.

Authorization procedure

Once the Bureau representatives and the Records Analyst have agreed on the record series descriptions, retention periods, and identification of vital records, the Records Analyst will create a final draft retention schedule (including any special schedules authorized by the State Archivist) to be routed through an authorization process. This process will be composed of the following steps:

  • Bureau Director – review for completeness, accuracy of descriptions, identification of vital records and alignment with operational needs. Sign and date authorization.
  • Director of Audit Services – review retention periods for compliance with City auditing requirements. Sign and date authorization.
  • City Attorney – review schedule for compliance with legal requirements and considerations. Sign and date authorization.

When the authorization process is completed, the Records Analyst will publish the retention schedule on the City’s website and will notify the Bureau that it has taken effect.


Ordinance No. 182637, passed by City Council April 1, 2009 and effective May 1, 2009.

Administratively renamed ARA-8.10 on December 6, 2022

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