Malheur Enterprise honored for pursuit of state’s Montwheeler records

In an unusual move, a Washington state open government group has reached across the border into Oregon to recognize the Malheur Enterprise’s fight for state records.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government said the Key Award is for the Enterprise’s “tenacity and persistence in procuring public records” related to Anthony W. Montwheeler, a former state hospital patient now facing murder charges. The coalition announced the award Thursday in a news release.

“We are proud to receive this recognition,” said Les Zaitz, Enterprise editor and publisher. “The need is more profound than ever to hold government accountable and allow citizens access to government information.”

The Enterprise earlier this year sought records of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board after it released Montwheeler from state control last December. A month later, Montwheeler was accused of kidnapping and murdering one of his ex-wives and killing a Vale man . . .