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Disability NEWS – December 7, 2016

Banner graphic for Disability Program NEWS

December 7, 2016

In this issue…

  • Disability Leadership Academy to start February 18th, applications open now
  • Oregon’s ABLE Savings Plan offers financial empowerment to people w/disabilities
  • New city disability program coordinator is first article in News Features section
  • General Assistance Program Forum is December 13th in downtown Portland
  • NWDSA’s Angela Jarvis-Holland to receive Making a Difference award December 13
  • Incight offering two employment workshops during December in Portland
  • Join FACT and participate in the Preparing for a Transition into Adulthood Webinar
  • Portland Commission on Disability is currently recruiting for new members
  • Visit Disability Program Facebook page for more news, event postings

Disability Leadership Academy to start February 18th, applications open now

Applications for the 2017 Disability Leadership Academy are now being accepted through January 9th. This program is scheduled to run from February through June 2017 on 10 Saturdays from 10 3 p.m. The sessions will consist of both a training session and project work on community engagement. 

People with disabilities who are 18 or older may apply for this intensive leadership course. The Disability Leadership Academy offers training and practical experience for persons with disabilities who want to affect public policy and create social change within communities. 

Leadership Academy graduates will advance their skills in project planning, event organizing, navigating political systems, building community, and more.

Anyone interested in applying or finding more the Academy, may check out the Disability Program’s webpage. The webpage offers dates of the sessions, responses to frequently asked questions, and the application for enrolling in the program.

Questions about the application process, how to support the academy, and other inquiries can be directed to Joanne Johnson, disability program coordinator, by email at She may also be contacted at 503-823-9970.

Those who applied during the summer do not need to reapply. If they wish to provide updated information, they may do so by contacting Johnson, using the contact information above.

Oregon’s ABLE Savings Plan offers financial empowerment to people with disabilities 

Oregonians with disabilities will be able to save money without fear of losing their vital state and federal benefits that started on December 6. The Oregon ABLE Savings Plan will provide Oregonians with disabilities an intuitive and simple way to save while providing tools and support to achieve financial empowerment. Using an ABLE account, they can save for their daily needs or invest money for tomorrow.

Using the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan, Oregonians will receive several tax advantages including a state income tax deduction and tax-free earnings on investments that are spent on disability-related expenses, like housing, education, medical expenses and more. People can sign up for the plan at As an added incentive, Oregonians who open an Oregon ABLE Savings Plan account before January 1, 2018, will receive a 50 percent discount on the annual fee.

Before Congress and the Oregon State Legislature paved the way for the creation of ABLE plans in 2015, people with disabilities were functionally forced to live in poverty if they wanted to remain eligible for vital means-tested benefits, like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, which required the individual to have less than $2,000 in savings and investments. 

New city disability program coordinator is first article in News Features section

The City of Portland’s Disability Program now has a NEWS Features section on its website and opened with a feature about the new disability program coordinator. This new grouping of information will complement the Disability NEWS by highlighting in-depth articles and allowing photographs to be posted.

To begin the program’s new service, the first article featured Joanne Johnson who was recently hired as the Disability Program Coordinator. This article serves as an introduction for Johnson who has personal and professional experience in the disability community as a person with a disability with over 10 years’ experience in disability advocacy and justice work. She sees her role is to build leadership and capacity in the disability communities. “I recognize that there is a broad range of disabilities and am committed to building a cross disability program,” she says. Here is a link to the article.

The NEWS Feature section has been developed to provide more in-depth information and also include time-sensitive articles to be posted independently of the twice-monthly Disability NEWS.

The Disability Program website has been experiencing a substantial increase in views during 2016. Previously, the average was approximately 2,500 views monthly but with more offerings from the Disability NEWS, it is now averaging over 15,000 views per month. Seeing this interest by the community has led to expanding the news content.

The NEWS Features section is available by clicking this weblink. Content will be generated in-house with some provided by partners to the NEWS.

General Assistance Program Forum is December 13th in downtown Portland

Stakeholders and community partners are invited to attend a General Assistance Program Forum and join in the discussion about a new program available to people with severe disabilities who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, and who are not yet receiving Social Security disability benefits. The forum is scheduled on December 13 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Pine Room at Multnomah County’s Lincoln Building, 421 S.W. Oak Street.

The General Assistance program will serve a group of people who can very easily slip through the cracks when it comes to accessing services – people with severe disabilities who are homeless (or at risk of being homeless) who have not yet started to receive Social Security benefits. 

The forum is hosted jointly by the Department of Human Services’ Aging and People with Disabilities Program and Multnomah County’s Aging, Disability, and Veterans’ Services.

This program provides housing assistance, utility assistance, cash assistance, and professional assistance with the Social Security application and appeals process. To RSVP, or to learn more about the General Assistance program and the referral process, please contact Program Manager Marcy Mee at (503) 373-0775, or by email at

NWDSA’s Angela Jarvis-Holland to receive Making a Difference award December 13

Angela Jarvis-Holland of the Northwest Down Syndrome Association (NWDSA) will be recognized for her outstanding work in the disability community as the 2016 recipient of the Making a Difference award at the December 13th Spirit of Portland Awards. The 32nd annual event will be at the Double Tree Hotel, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Angela is the executive director of NWDSA, whose mission is to create and nurture a loving and inclusive community celebrating every person with a disability including Down syndrome. She seeks to create positive change through community mobilizations and awareness work. NWDSA conducts numerous workshops, meetings, activities and events in the community.

The mayor and commissioners of the City of Portland invite everyone to join them as they recognize and celebrate the winners of the Spirit of Portland Awards. City Council presents Spirit of Portland Awards each year to individuals and groups who make outstanding contributions to the community and has more information available on its website.

For information, including a request for accommodation, please contact Marco Mejia at 503 823-3093 or by emailing him at

Incight offering two employment workshops during December in Portland

Incight is hosting two job events that offer opportunities to explore human services jobs and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service positions. Jobseekers with disabilities may participate in the Live Resume for Human Services Positions on December 14 from 2:15 to 4:45 p.m. and A Hiring Event with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on December 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  1. Live Resume: Human Services is an excellent and unique opportunity for job seekers with disabilities to meet and network with local employers in an intimate and supportive environment. During the main event, every participant will have up to three minutes to verbally present their "Live Resume" to the attending recruiters and hiring managers who are looking to fill a variety of human services positions within their organizations. After the presentations, there is an hour of networking with the employers. This event is hosted by OHSU and will also include CareOregon, Providence, Family Care Health, Central City Concern, Numotion, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, Fuel Medical Group, Clackamas County, Goodwill Industries, Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation, and possibly more to come. To learn more and sign up for the event, please click this link to download the event flyer.
  2. The US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Hiring Event is for job seekers with disabilities to have an opportunity to apply for specific job openings with the potential of being interviewed and hired on the spot. The agency will be hiring entry level through advanced positions in Portland and throughout other areas and states. There are over 100 jobs to fill by the first week of January 2017. Recruiters and HR Managers will be present to review resumes, determine eligibility, offer an interview if qualifications are met, and possibly extend a job offer. For more details and to register, go to the event website. For accommodations, Contact Kim Alejo with Incight at least five days prior to the event to request accommodations: or (971) 244-0305.

Join FACT and participate in the Preparing for a Transition into Adulthood Webinar

FACT Oregon is conducting a webinar on Thursday, December 15, from noon to 2 pm on Preparing for the Transition into Adulthood. This webinar would be of interest to anyone raising a child or teen experiencing disability or if they are curious about what school, employment, community and formal services would look like for a child growing up.

To hear all about the transition to adulthood for children and teens experiencing disability. FACT is inviting the community to this important online learning opportunity. To participate, please register on the webinar website. Parents and family members are free and professionals who need a certificate of attendance may pay a $25 registration fee. After registering, participants will receive an email with details on how to login and access the webinar.

FACT will be offering a monthly webinar about the transition to adulthood between now and June 17. Visit FACT’s website for future dates and times.

Portland Commission on Disability is currently recruiting for new members

The Portland Commission on Disability’s (PCOD) is currently recruiting interested persons in the community who can help with policy analysis/creation, document creation, impacts upon people with disabilities and other work involved with its role for the City. Recruitment is currently open for four vacancies on the Commission with the application available online.

PCOD’s mission is to guide the City in ensuring that it is a more universally accessible city for all. To achieve its goals and follow this mission, the Commission is composed of 23 members who engage the community to advise City Council and its bureaus on the policies, services and practices to make them inclusive and accessible.

The link to the application is available here and it may be submitted either in hard copy or digitally, following the instructions on page 5 of the application. More information about PCOD, its work, regular meetings and more, visit the Office of Equity and Human Rights website.

Visit Disability Program Facebook page for 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 NEWS, including back issues, is also available in the program’s website for viewing at this link.

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 is available for downloading in an e-publication format for reading on a tablet, smart phone, digital reader or computer.