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Plain Language

Plain Language Standard

Oregon law requires all state agencies to prepare public communications in language that is as clear and simple as possible (ORS 183.750). This includes publications, forms and instructions, licenses, agency notices, and administrative rules. HB 2702 specifies an additional standard for written documents. A document meets the plain language standard if it, whenever possible:
  • Uses everyday words that convey meanings clearly and directly
  • Uses the present tense and the active voice
  • Uses short, simple sentences
  • Defines only those words that cannot be properly explained or qualified in the text
  • Uses type of a readable size
  • Uses layout and spacing that separate the paragraphs and sections of the document from each other
  • Second Report to the Legislative Assembly on Implementation of House Bill 2702, Plain Language Standard, (1/1/09)
Report Summary 
Implementation Plans and Examples 
Examples by Category 


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Oregon State Library
Resources and services are available to all State of Oregon employees. You can register online using your official State of Oregon email address. Register
  • Books 24x7 – business communications, writing
  • Merriam Webster’s International Dictionary – dictionaries and thesauri
Catalog  Search the Oregon State Library catalog for books, print, video, federal and state documents, and other material


The Department of Administrative Services makes select plain language training materials available through the Oregon State Library. DAS created the materials and trained hundreds of state employees in plain language before budget reductions forced the elimination of the class in 2008-2009. Agencies may customize and use the materials as they see fit.   

Other Topics

Assistance:  503-378-8800   library.help@state.or.us

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State Agency Plain Language Contacts
General Questions:
Raelynn Henson
Communications Coordinator
Department of Administrative Services
Online Resources:
Kate McGann
Government Research  Services
Oregon State Library

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