Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

How to File a Complaint

Graphic showing steps 1, 2, 3 of the complaint process. The same information is in the body of the page.

The following information is a guide on how to proceed if you feel you have been treated unfairly, find yourself in a disagreement or have a question that needs answering by state and/or local government.

How Our Team Can Help You

Graphic with the word "Step" and the number 1.

Try to resolve it at the agency/unit of government. Take notes, make copies, get names/phone numbers/emails.

Follow these best practice recommendations for more positive results:

  • Be pleasant and decent. Treat workers with respect and courtesy, even if you’re frustrated.
  • Be patient. Research takes time and workers must juggle many tasks and time demands.
  • Be persistent. Give workers a reasonable amount of time and then check back.
  • Prepare. Gather data and material ahead of time to explain and exhibit your situation logically.
  • Outline or summarize your main points
  • Read what agencies send you and be mindful of directions and deadlines. If you don’t understand notices or correspondence you receive, ask questions first of the agency that sent it.
  • Ask to escalate your concern/question if frontline workers do not understand your question or concern.
  • If your calls do not yield results, consider filing a written complaint directly with the agency. Be sure to explain yourself. Be professional and courteous. Cite exhibits when possible. A written complaint allows for a thoughtful, reasoned approach and gives you the benefit of providing supportive evidence.
  • When appeal rights are offered, consider them carefully. Note that we are unable to assist you with a contested case hearing.
  • Always save a copy of correspondence and relevant records. It’s a good idea to save a copy of anything you send to any government entity.

Graphic of the word "step" and the number 2

Check Jurisdiction

Check that your dispute is something we can help with.

We CAN consider:

  • Inquiries and complaints regarding the administrative acts of most state agencies, provided you are not in a contested case process and have not initiated legal action.
  • Inquiries regarding the administrative acts of most units of local government, provided you are not in a contested case process and have not initiated legal action.
  • Questions about starting, expanding or winding up the operations of a business in Oregon.

We CANNOT examine:

  • Federal agencies (though we’ll be happy to refer you to resources).
  • The judicial branch (including attorneys, judges and other court officials)
  • Elected officials at any level of government
  • Homeowner Associations
  • Private parties, whether individual citizens, private nonprofits or for-profit entities.
  • Long-term care facilities (please contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman)

Other Limitations

When we would otherwise have jurisdiction, we do not review complaints in the following situations:

  • We cannot take complaints from third party persons. This means your CPA and your bookkeeper cannot file a complaint on your behalf. We can only work with a business owner/principal or nonprofit executive directors or board members or their designee.
  • If you are using an alternative remedy.
  • When you delay filing the complaint too long to justify review and investigation.
  • When you do not have sufficient interest in or are not personally aggrieved by the matter of the complaint.
  • If the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith.
  • When the resources of our team are not sufficient for adequate review and investigation of your complaint.
  • When the complaint is the subject of pending litigation or a pending contested case proceeding under ORS 183.

Graphic of the word "Step" and the number 3.
Contact Us

File an inquiry or complaint.

Please contact our office and describe your problem.