1) What is required under Portland’s new ordinance?
Any person owning or managing a public facility must activate closed captioning on any closed-captioned television receiver in use in any public area during regular hours.
2) Who is required to comply?
Any person owning or managing a public facility. A “public facility” includes any place offering to the public goods, services, lodgings, amusements, transportation, etc. For example, this includes but is not limited to hospital waiting rooms, bars and restaurants, health clubs, bus stations, airport lounges, and appliance stores.
3) Where must compliance occur?
The closed captioning must be activated on television receivers in use in any public area of a public facility. “Public area” includes any part of a public facility that is open to the general public. For example, this includes the lobby area of a hotel or gym. This does not include areas that require membership or some fee such as the actual gym or the hotel rooms.
4) What is included in the meaning of a “closed-captioned television receiver”?
A “closed-captioned television receiver” means a receiver of television programming that has the ability to display closed captioning, including but not limited to a television, digital set top box, and other technology capable of displaying closed captioning for television programming.
5) When must compliance occur?
The closed-captioned television receiver must be activated during regular hours. “Regular hours” means the hours of any day in which the public facility is generally open to members of the general public.
6) How will the requirement be enforced?
If the City Attorney reasonably believes a violation has occurred, the City Attorney may issue a written determination addressing the violation. The addressee must provide a written response within 10 business days either disputing the occurrence of the violation or describing how the violation has been abated and how such violations will be prevented from reoccurring.
If the addressee fails to provide a written response, or the City Attorney is not reasonably satisfying with the response, the City Attorney may file a complaint with the Code Hearings Officer, as provided in PCC 22.03.020. The City Attorney may request that the Code Hearings Officer impose civil penalties not to exceed $500 for each day the violation is committed.
7) Why will the requirement be enforced?
Hearing loss is a significant problem in the United States. Television receivers are increasingly used in facilities open to the general public, including hospital waiting rooms, bars and restaurants, health clubs, bus stations, airport lounges, and appliance stores. Television receivers in these locations enable members of the general public to obtain the latest news reports in an emergency, watch local sports teams, or simply pass the time while waiting for an appointment or service to be completed. People with hearing disabilities should not be excluded from being able to meaningfully participate in the activities while in public areas.
In order to avoid screening out those members of the general public who are deaf or hard of hearing in places of public accommodation, there should be a requirement that closed captioning be activated so as to not exclude, deny service, segregate or otherwise treat those with hearing disabilities different from being able to fully participate in or experience the full benefits of the television programming offered to the public in those settings.
8) Who do I contact if I believe a violation has occurred?
If you believe a violation has occurred, you can contact Kim Sneath at:
Portland City Attorney’s Office
1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 430
Portland, OR 97204