Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are Public Record?

The Public Records Act RCW 42.56 is a Washington State law that governs the public's access to state and local government records. A public record is defined as any writing that is prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local government agency, and which contains information that relates to the conduct of government, or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function.

Q2: What information should I include in my request?

RCW 42.56.080 requires a public records request must be for identifiable records. When making a request, it is helpful to include as much information as you can. Including specific information such as subject matter; date/time; project, contract, account, and/or parcel number; specific document title; etc. aides Records staff in locating responsive records. 

Q3: What if I only have a question or want general information?

General questions or requests for information are not typically Public Records Requests. The Northwest Seaport Alliance is not required to create new records, collect or analyze information, or conduct legal research under the Public Records Act. If you have general questions or would like more information about the Northwest Seaport Alliance that you can’t locate from our website, please call (800) 657-9808.

Q4: When and How will I receive the requested records?

Within five (5) business days of receipt of the request, the Northwest Seaport Alliance will respond in one of the following ways:

  • Provide the records (or a link to the portion of our website that contains the records).
  • Request clarification if the request is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records.
  • Provide a reasonable time estimate for the search and production of any potential responsive records. For large or overly broad requests, the Northwest Seaport Alliance may provide records in a series of installments.
  • Deny the request in whole or in part.
  • Close the request advising a reasonable search was conducted and no responsive records were identified.

The time frame to complete a records request depends on the size and scope of the request as well as staff workload. The Northwest Seaport Alliance strives to provide records electronically for ease of access. Responses to public records requests will be provided electronically via the NextRequest portal unless otherwise requested.

Q5: Are any records exempt from disclosure?

Many public records have no disclosure restrictions and must be provided upon request. However, some records are exempt from disclosure (either in whole or in part) under the Public Records Act RCW 42.56. Many other exemptions and disclosure prohibitions can be found throughout other state and federal statutes.

Q6: How do I find records readily available online?

Use the following links to access records readily available online:

Q7: What is the Northwest Seaport Aliance & What do they do?

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) is a marine cargo operating partnership of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma. They are a leading container gateway in the United States. Under a port development authority, the NWSA manages the container, breakbulk, auto and some bulk terminals in Seattle and Tacoma. For more information on the NWSA, please visit our About Us page.

Q8: What if I want Records for the Port of Tacoma or the Port of Seattle?

Both the Port of Tacoma and Port of Seattle manage and maintain their own records. To learn more about Port of Tacoma public records, visit the Port of Tacoma Public Records Webpage. To learn more about Port of Seattle public records, visit the Port of Seattle Public Records Webpage.

Helpful Links

Access to Public Records Procedure

Northwest Seaport Alliance - Public Records Information Page

Northwest Seaport Alliance - Homepage

How to Submit a Public Records Request and Create an Account

Set up or Reset Your NextRequest Password