On September 30, 2023 FOIAonline—the government-wide online portal for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and case management—will be decommissioned. For more than a decade, FOIAonline has served as a critical transparency tool through which the public could not only file requests and receive records, but also browse and search through records released to others and by multiple agencies. Starting October 1st, FOIAonline will be taken down, and the 1.8 million public records it holds will be taken down with it.
I grew up in unincorporated Snohomish County, Washington—an area I often characterized, at the time, as the kind of place where people have guns and horses. As a kid, the woods behind my house felt like an endless adventure: a massive Pacific Northwest wetlands, where beavers would build ever-changing dams you might cross on foot (if you didn’t fall in), where stickerbushes grabbed at your clothes, and dripping thick underbrush would open up into spacious cedar groves that, even to a child, felt sacred.