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Disability NEWS – November 4, 2015

Banner for Portland Disability Program NEWS

November 4, 2015 

  • Disability advocates to be honored at Spirit of Portland Awards this month
  • Upcoming Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD) Meetings
  • Input needed for healthcare collaborative’s survey to make a healthier community
  • MULTCO offering programs for caregivers and families this fall
  • Hearing Loss Association of America - Portland Chapter meets November 16
  • When Support Means Hiring People workshop is December 1st
  • Get Ready for the 2016 at ONI’s Legislative Workshop
  • Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon is holding its annual Holiday Party in December
  • Oregon schools are affected by DOJ decision on sheltered workshops
  • Social Security Administration asks for help in shaping policy
  • Visit Disability Program Facebook page for more news, event postings 

Disability advocates to be honored at Spirit of Portland Awards this month

The Spirit of Portland Awards will be presented in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, on Tuesday, November 17, from 6 to 8:30 pm. Suzanne Stahl and the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Portland Chapter (HLAA-Portland) will receive Making A Difference awards for going above and beyond to make Portland more inclusive for people with disabilities.

Stahl will be recognized as an individual making a difference and she is a tireless and passionate advocate for people with disabilities. She currently serves as a member of the Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD). She has also served on the City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Private for Hire Transportation Innovation Task Force, representing concerns and issues for the disability committee. She currently chairs PCOD’s Access in the Built Environment Committee which works to improve accessibility for housing, buildings, transportation and physical access issues.

A community organization whose work is carried out by volunteers, the HLAA-Portland is the organizational recipient of a Making A Difference award. The group meets monthly to provide assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families in learning how to adjust to living with hearing loss. Their work is to eradicate the stigma associated with the disability and raise public awareness for its treatment and accessibility needs. They are supporters of the “Portland: Turn on the Captions” ordinance that will benefit not only persons with hearing loss, but the general community. It is currently awaiting approval by City Council.

A selection committee selects award winners from nominations submitted by fellow Portlanders. The committee is composed of representatives from commissioners’ offices, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), Neighborhood Associations, and other diverse community organizations. The ceremony will be streamed live on the City's website at and re-broadcast on Portland Community Media (

Spanish and ASL interpretation will be provided at the event. Cake and refreshments will be served following the award presentations.

For further information or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Juliette Muracchioli at ONI by calling 503-823-9666 or emailing The complete list of recipients and other information is available on the event website . 

Upcoming Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD) Meetings 

PCOD Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, November 5, 5 to 7:00 pm
Broadway Room, Office of Equity & Human Rights
Commonwealth Building, 421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500 

Accessibility in the Built Environment Subcommittee (ABE)
Monday, November 9, 10 am to Noon
1900 Building, 1900 SW Fourth Ave, Room 4A 

Portland Commission on Disability Meeting
Friday, November 13, 11 am to 1pm
Bridge & Steele Rooms, Office of Equity & Human Rights
Commonwealth Building, 421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500 

Promoting Awareness and Livability Subcommittee (PAL)
Friday, November 20, 3 to 5pm
Broadway Room, Office of Equity & Human Rights
Commonwealth Building, 421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500 

PLEASE NOTE: All Portland Commission on Disability
meetings and events are open to the public.
More information about PCOD is available
at the Office of Equity and Human Rights website.
Please contact PCOD staff at
with any questions or concerns for the Commission. 

Input needed for healthcare collaborative’s survey to make a healthier community

The Healthy Columbia Willamette Collaborative is conducting a survey to gather feedback to help the organization create a healthier community. The survey is online at with several language options. The answers are anonymous and no participant will have to provide their name.

The results of the survey along with other information will be used to identify the most important health issues that can be addressed through the community efforts of hospitals, county health departments, and Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) in the region.

The Healthy Columbia Willamette Collaborative includes 15 hospitals, four health departments and two coordinated care organizations in the Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties of Oregon and in Clark County, Washington.

This unique public private partnership aims for stronger relationships between communities, coordinated care organizations, hospitals and public health; meaningful community health needs assessments; and results in a platform for collaboration around health improvement plans and activities that leverage collective resources to improve the health and well being of the area’s communities. 

Multnomah County offering programs for caregivers and families this fall

The Multnomah County Family Caregiver Support Program is sponsoring several programs aimed at improving the quality of life of caregivers. The classes are free and open to the public.

Participants in the “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” program will learn how to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate their feelings, and locate helpful resources. The program is beneficial whether taking care of a parent, spouse or friend.

This program will be offered in two locations: Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Avenue, and Faithful Savior Lutheran Church, 110 NE Skidmore Street. The Hollywood classes are from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., every Tuesday from now through Nov. 24. The classes at Faithful Savior Lutheran Church are from 6 to 7:30 p.m., every Wednesday from now through Nov. 18. To register, call 503-288-8303 for the Hollywood classes or call 503-988-8210 for the Faithful Savior Church. Space is limited so participants are encouraged to register early.

The second program is entitled the “Families Talk Workshop” series. Three free workshops which will prepare families to care for elderly relatives. The workshops are Taking Care of Business, Tools for Touch Conversations, and Conversations about Memory Loss. Workshops are being held separately at East Multnomah County, 600 NE 8th Street in Gresham, and at Concordia University’s George White Library, 2800 NE Liberty Street.

The Families Talk workshops start November 3 and the remainder continue through the month, ending on the 19th. 

For more information about all of these programs, please contact Loriann McNeill, Multnomah County Family Caregiver Support Program Coordinator, at 503-988-8210. 

Hearing Loss Association of America - Portland Chapter meets November 16

The Portland Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA-Portland) will hold its meeting on Monday, November 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, with Mike Foster speaking about the State of Oregon's Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The group conducts its meeting, open to the public, at Legacy Good Samaritan Main Hospital, NW 22nd Avenue and Lovejoy Street, in the Wilcox Building, Room A.

The HLAA Portland chapter is dedicated to providing a supportive atmosphere for attendees to meet other people with hearing loss and learn about issues related to it. The chapter meetings are real-time captioned and are equipped with a loop system (a PA system audible to wearers of hearing devices equipped with telecoils). 

For a detailed look on the meeting location and available parking, please see the Legacy Good Smamaritan Hospital Campus Map. The hospital information desk is in Bldg #1 on the map (Good Samaritan Main Hospital). The Wilcox Building is #7. Parking for meeting attendees is free in Legacy Good Samaritan parking structures, but a validation slip must be used upon exiting at the end of the evening. The chapter will provide validation slips at the meeting. Further information about HLAA-Portland is available on the organization's website.

When Support Means Hiring People workshop is December 1st

Family and Community Together (FACT) Oregon is conducting a workshop entitled “When Support Means Hiring People” on Tuesday, December 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Providence Cancer Center, 819 NE 47th Avenue. The workshop is the third in its series of Understanding and Navigating Developmental Disability Services.

In this training, participants will:

  • Understand when and why they might want to hire a personal support worker (PSW)
  • Learn who can be a PSW
  • Gain tips on finding a provider
  • Learn about the role and responsibilities of being an employer.

Refreshments will be provided. To register, call 503-786-6082 or 1-888-988-3228, or email with questions or assistance with registration. Further details are available at the event website.

FACT is a family leadership organization based in Oregon for individuals and their families experiencing disability, working collaboratively to facilitate positive change in policies, systems, and attitudes, through family support, advocacy, and partnerships. Visit the FACT website ( to learn more. 

Get Ready for the 2016 State Legislature at ONI’s Legislative Workshop

The Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) is offering Legislative Advocacy 101 on Wednesday, December 2, from 6 to 8 pm in the Portland Building’s Auditorium, 1120 SE 5th Avenue. The event will provide community members with tips on how to be an effective advocate for their community or neighborhood during this upcoming 2016 state legislative session and 115th Congress.

A panel of elected officials, congressional staff, and community advocates will share their advice and answer questions about how the community can make an impact on public policy at the state and federal levels. The panel consists of State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward; Commissioner Amanda Fritz; U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley; Kayse Jama, the Center for Intercultural Organizing’s executive director; and moderator Martha Pellegrino, the City’s Office of Government Relations director.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to work effectively with legislators and their staff
  • Strategies for mobilizing your membership base or coalitions to maximize advocacy impact
  • Lobbying do’s and don’ts

For more information, visit the event’s website or contact Arolia McSwain by phone at 503-823-3093 or emailing

Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon is holding its annual Holiday Party in December

The Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon (BIAOR) extends an invitation to its third annual Holiday Party on Friday, December 11, at John’s Incredible Pizza, 9180 SE Hall Boulevard in Beaverton, from 6 to 8 pm. The party will celebrate the holiday season for individuals with brain injury, their family and friends, and the professionals who work with them.

The party features raffles, Holiday Sticks and silent auctions with 20 free game tokens provided to each attendee. The unlimited all-you-can eat buffet features pizza, pasta, soup, desserts and refreshments at a cost of $15 person.

The mission of the Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, education, research, and support. To find out more about BIAOR or to sign up for the holiday party, visit online at BIAOR’s event webpage or call 800-544-5243. 

Oregon schools are affected by DOJ decision on sheltered workshops

When the State of Oregon was accused of violating the ADA by funding sheltered workshops in 2012, eight people with intellectual and developmental disabilities didn't name the state education department as a defendant. Rather, they and a cerebral palsy group pointed to the human services, developmental disability services, and vocational rehabilitation departments, as well as the governor's office.

Family and Community Together (FACT) Oregon reports that when the group moved to join the plaintiffs in Lane v. Kitzhaber (D. Or. 05/17/12), the Justice Department made it clear that schools had to be part of the solution.

"Numerous stakeholders stated that a referral from high school to a sheltered workshop continues to be the most common outcome for transition age youth who seek employment services in Oregon," it said in a Letter of Findings. "We also received reports that some school districts in Oregon simulate workshop activities in order to transition students with disabilities into workshops."

Now, the parties have a reached a proposed settlement, and schools are very much involved, including a ban on "mock" sheltered workshops.

That's essential, according to Roberta Dunn, FACT executive director of Family and Community Together, the state's parent training and information center.

"For the longest time, families didn't really become aware of what [it means to have] a robust transition and especially a transition plan that could result in a student's leaving school employed," she said. "Even worse, some [IEP teams were] having a student go directly into a sheltered workshop, in essence putting a concrete ceiling over any trajectory that would have resulted in competitive, community employment."

For more information about the effect of this decision concerning sheltered workshops and schools, read the complete article at FACT’s website

Social Security Administration asks for help in shaping policy

Social Security needs your help. The Social Security Administration is asking for responses to an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on how the vocational rules, first published in 1978, should be modernized. These are the rules disability decision makers use to decide whether an adult with a severe disabling condition can do any job in the national economy.

The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition of disability. The agency pays benefits to eligible people who cannot work because of a disabling mental or physical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death. This medical condition must prevent the person from doing not only their previous work, but any other substantial work.

On Friday, November 20 in Washington DC, Social Security will host a National Disability Forum. The meeting will focus on the realities of employment for individuals with severe disabling conditions, especially for those who are older, have low skills, or low education levels. The purpose is to gather insight on circumstances such as age, education and work experience, helping us understand the effect these may have on an individual’s ability to work and to adjust to other work. The National Disability Forum looks to consider how these vocational factors can and should inform its evaluation of an applicant’s ability to work consistent with the Social Security Act’s definition of disability.

For further information about this forum, please visit the Social Security Matters website . Anyone planning to attend the forum, either in person or by phone, needs to register by Monday, November 16. For more information about the National Disability Forum series, please visit

Visit Disability Program Facebook page for more news, event postings

The Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) Disability Program Facebook page features daily postings of news, videos, events and issues of interest to people with disabilities. Visit the program’s Facebook page to read these postings and other information posted daily on disability issues, news and concerns.

The Disability NEWS is created and distributed twice monthly by the City of Portland’s Disability Program in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. The Portland Commission on Disability also collaborates with and supports the publication.

To update your contact information, if you wish to submit information for the newsletter or if you know someone who would like to receive the newsletter, please email Events submitted will also be noted on the Disability Program Facebook page and featured on ONI Events calendar's list of Disability Events.

Please note: This information may also be provided in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF formats. Please use the contact information above to make your request for an alternative format.