A would-be psychiatric hospital filed suit against the embattled Oregon Health Authority in Marion County Circuit Court Friday, alleging OHA is flouting the state’s public records law.

Willamette Valley Behavioral Health wants to open a psychiatric hospital in Wilsonville.

A 2016 OHA study found Oregon needs more emergency psychiatric beds and community-based mental health resources.

Yet state officials have been cool to the new group’s application for licensure.

In March, Willamette Valley asked OHA for any emails between it and hospitals that Willamette Valley suspected opposed its licensure.

OHA initially said the request would cost $4,500, then allegedly demanded an additional $44,600 to begin providing documents.

Willamette’s lawyer, Jason Conger, says OHA jacked up the price to avoid exposing emails that would show it violated its own rules.

“How long does it take to run an email search?” Conger asks. “If you’re the agency, how can you take six months to not respond, take $4,000 and then come back for $45,000 more?”

The Oregon Department of Justice, which represents OHA, did not return a phone call requesting comment.