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Disability NEWS – December 6, 2017

Graphic of Disability NEWS Banner

Above: Banner graphic for the Disability NEWS.

December 6, 2017

In this issue…

  • Only 10 days left of Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, Sign up while you can
  • NWDSA Winter Social 2017 is December 10th for families of children with Down syndrome
  • MULTCO hosting Community Listening Session on Mental Health
  • Oregon Telephone Assistance Program Advisory Committee has opening for new member
  • “Getting to Know Your Community” Meeting centered around Mental Health is December 11
  • HLAA-Portland December Meeting cancelled, next meeting is January 15
  • NWDSA Open Arms Play Group is an opportunity for parents to connect with each other
  • Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company Announces 3 Open Company Positions 
  • “In Our Own Words” will be a roundtable discussion about long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS
  • Choice Magazine Listening is Free audio magazine is for adults with disabilities
  • Visit Disability Program Facebook page for more news, event postings

Only 9 days left of Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, Sign up while you can

Open Enrollment is the time every year when people can apply for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at This year’s Open Enrollment period is shorter than last year’s – it ends on December 15th. Spending cuts have also affected having enough information out in the community.

Health insurance plans are available for many types of people, including people with disabilities, mental health conditions, chronic illnesses, and pre-existing conditions. If you have a major life change, like having a baby, you may qualify for an ACA plan as well.

Most people qualify for financial help. When you apply for insurance, the form will ask you to enter your income and the number of people in your household. It will estimate your savings based on the information you provide. Eight out of ten people can find a plan for under $75 per month.

ACA plans cover many services, including:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Emergency room visits
  • Treatment in the hospital
  • Care before and after a baby is born
  • Mental health services and substance use disorder services
  • Your prescription drugs
  • Ongoing care for injuries, disabilities and chronic conditions
  • Lab tests
  • Preventative services
  • Pediatric services

Sign up for a plan under the Affordable Care Act by going to before December 15th. The website will be closed every Sunday for maintenance, so make sure to apply on weekdays or Saturdays.

If you need help understanding what plan is best for you, free help is available in over 200 languages at 1-800-318-2596. To find free help locally, click here and enter your zipcode.

These are the facts, and please share those facts with others, so that everyone who needs insurance understands how to get it. If you need health insurance, now is the time to sign up. If you know someone who needs health insurance, help them apply. Finally, please spread the word, so that everyone who needs to can #getcovered.

This announcement was provided by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).

NWDSA Winter Social 2017 is December 10th for families of children with Down syndrome

The annual Winter Social event for families of children with Down syndrome is December 10, from noon to 2 p.m. Northwest Down Syndrome Association (NWDSA) is hosting the event at JJ Jump, 9057 S.E. Jannsen Road in Clackamas.

This is always a fun family event with tasty treats, a visit with Santa, good times and games for all ages. Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP by December 9th. RSVP online or call 503-238-0522 to let NWDSA know you will be attending. Registration does end on Friday December 8.

The Winter Social is always free of charge to families and donations are appreciated.

NWDSA has been a parent-driven family support network since 1997. NWDSA’s mission is to create and nurture a loving and inclusive community celebrating every person with a disability including Down syndrome. NWDSA will accomplish this mission by empowering and supporting families and individuals who have been touched by developmental disability. 

MULTCO hosting Community Listening Session on Mental Health

Accessible and effective mental health care is one of the most important needs facing Multnomah County. In order to address what often may seem like a fragmented system of care, Multnomah County and Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) are conducting a study of the local mental health system.

A Community Listening Session on Mental Health is being held on Monday, December 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to meet with community members and learn about their experiences regarding current resources and needs. Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran will host the session at the Multnomah County Central Library in the U.S. Bank Room at 801 S.W. 10th Avenue. The goal is to help the County and HSRI team understand how the system is actually working in the county so as to identify opportunities for meaningful change.

Food will be provided with childcare, accommodations, and translation services available upon request. Please RSVP by email and include any requests for childcare, translation services or any other accommodations so they may be planned accordingly. More information is available on the County’s website

The state’s OTAP Advisory Committee has opening for one community member

There is currently an opening for a member to serve on the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program (OTAP) Advisory Committee. There is one seat reserved for a person who represents individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing. House Bill 3268 was enacted into law by the 2017 Oregon Legislature that established the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program (OTAP) advisory committee.

OTAP provides discounted or free phone service to qualifying low-income households. A total of nine members advise the Public Utility Commission (PUC) on eligibility processes, marketing and outreach with the goal of increasing OTAP participation throughout Oregon.

The term of membership is four years and although the committee can decide on the location, duration, and frequency of the meetings, it is planned to initially host the meetings once a quarter, beginning in March 2018, at the PUC in Salem for up to three hours. This is a Governor-appointed position and any interested candidate must complete an interest form.

Although the form instructs the candidate to return it to the Governor's Office, the PUC would like to collect the form from all nine candidates before submitting it as one package to the Governor's Office.

Anyone interested is asked to please contact Jon Cray at the PUC by Friday, December 15. He may be reached by email or by calling 503-373-1400.

December 11th “Getting to Know Your Community Meeting” centers around Mental Health

An all-volunteer, disability-led community engagement outreach group is meeting for participants to share authentic dialogue on mental health issues on Monday, December 11th. The meeting is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Multnomah County Hillsdale Library, 1525 SW Sunset Boulevard, just north of S.W. Capitol Highway in Hillsdale.

The format will be a circle process with the goal of sharing dialogue around issues ranging from learning about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and ,possibly, a co-occurring substance abuse problem. This discussion will be within a range of contexts, how this community is impacted and what is envisaged as a collective future. The group wants community voices included in the conversation. 

The featured guest is Keven Fitts, a long-time mental health leader and well-known local/regional advocate for mental health issues. Fitts is the executive director of Oregon Mental Health Consumers Association.

The over-arching goal seeks to expand current community capacities and realize a positive and equitable local culture of integration and inclusion in a variety of social contexts. The group contends that it starts with us, while wholly recognizing we are a part of a complex and diverse local community requiring mindful and intentional practices around community building. 

Since space is limited, please RSVP to Myrla Rivier at Anyone wishing to address specific issues is welcome to also contact Myrla so an effort is made to best address people’s curiosities or concerns.

This is an all-volunteer community action group and able to provide most accessibility needs. However, if someone has specific needs, they are asked to contact at the email provided above within the next week so work can begin to get what is needed for full involvement. There will be limited snacks and light refreshments available. Participants are asked to be mindful of the impact fragrances can have and to please refrain from their use. 

HLAA-Portland December Meeting cancelled, next meeting is January 15

The Hearing Loss Association of America – Portland Chapter, will not be conducting a December member meeting due to the holidays. The next meeting will be January 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting’s topic will be announced in the next meeting announcement.

Please note that the HLAA-Portland meeting location has changed to a different building and room on the Good Samaritan Campus. For 2018, the meeting will be in the second floor conference room of Building 2, 1040 N.W. 22nd Avenue. It is directly across NW 22nd Avenue from the Main Hospital Building.

The chapter is dedicated to providing a supportive atmosphere for persons with hearing loss to meet other hard of hearing people and learn about issues related to hearing loss. The chapter meetings are real-time captioned and are equipped with a loop system (usable by wearers of hearing devices equipped with telecoils).

Monthly chapter meetings are real-time captioned (CART) and there is an induction loop amplification system set up for wearers of hearing devices equipped with telecoils. ASL is not provided. Meetings are accessible by Tri-Met lines 15 and 77 and the Portland Streetcar, which all stop within two blocks. The membership meetings are on the third Monday, September through May, at Good Samaritan, and are open to all. See for more info about HLAA-Portland.

NWDSA Open Arms Play Group is an opportunity for parents to connect with each other

Northwest Down Syndrome Association’s Open Arms Play Group will be Monday, December 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Earl Boyles Elementary School, 10822 S.E. Bush Street in Portland. Open Arms is a parent-driven play group for children birth through five with disabilities, and their family.

The play group is organized to give parents opportunities to connect with each other on a personal level by asking questions, sharing ideas, and learning from others experience. Open Arms is a fun place where children can play, snack, learn and grow together. The play group instills the belief that parents are the experts and number one advocate of their children. There is no charge and welcome all families with kiddos with disabilities age 0 to 5 are welcome, including siblings. Snacks are provided and Spanish interpretation is available. Para comunicarse en español: Maria Rangel, 503-238-0522.

For more information, contact Angela Frome by email at or call 503-238-0522.

Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company Announces 3 Open Company Positions

There are three positions open on the Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company (IAVDC) for people with and without disabilities, ages 12 to 25. IAVDC is a unique cross disability and integrated dance company. 

New Expressive Works Studio 2 at 810 S.E. Belmont is where the group has lessons and rehearses. The company meets on Tuesdays, from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Auditions are not necessary and dancers are expected to make a year-long commitment. There is a cost of $10 per week, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. 

IAVDC provides integrated dance classes and is inclusive of youth with and without disabilities. Dancers aged 12-22+ have the opportunity to learn structured improvisation through DanceAbility Methodology, how to choreograph movement including creating their own solos or small ensembles, and expand their movement vocabulary through learning contemporary dance. Emphasis is made for individual expression of movement and building an equitable community through dance.

All choreography builds on the dancers’ unique minds and bodies, and each dancer contributes to the choreography in their own way. Participating in Inclusive Arts Vibe is a way for young dancers to develop artistic expressions, positive identities, leadership skills, and experience a working model of social justice in the arts. Contact IAVDC for more information or to attend the next rehearsal at or by calling 503-358-9085.

The Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company is a program of the Disability Art and Culture Project (DACP). DACP’s mission is to further the artistic expression of people with both apparent and non-apparent disabilities.

“In Our Own Words” will be a roundtable discussion about long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS

January 9th is the date for “In Our Own Words,” a roundtable discussion about long-term long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS. The discussion will be from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Oregon Health Authority, Room 1A at 800 N.E. Oregon Street.

This is an educational opportunity for partners who seek to serve the LGBTQ+ community and would like to better understand the challenges facing long term survivors of HIV.

Presenters will be Amy Anderson, Carlos Dory, Maricela Berumen, Michael Stewart, and Robert Miller. The discussion will be moderated by Michael Thurman. “In Our Own Words” is in affiliation with Cascade AIDS Project's Community Advisory Board and sponsored by the Partnership Project and Cascade Aids Project.

Choice Magazine Listening is a free audio magazine for adults with disabilities

Any adult who has difficulty reading or even holding a magazine is eligible to receive an audio magazine from Choice Magazine Listening (CML). Four times a year, listeners receive 12 hours of great magazine writing with the Library of Congress talking book player provided for free. Recipients may enjoy the issue for several weeks, then return it in the postage-free mail that it arrived in. CML is also available as a download.

Since 1962, Choice Magazine Listening has been serving adults with conditions which make it difficult to read standard print. Articles are collected from more than 100 publications, including National Geographic, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Smithsonian, and more. Selected pieces are read by some of America’s top audiobook narrators.

Subscribers include those with conditions such as low vision, macular degeneration, blindness, MS, diabetes, cerebral palsy, ALS, Dyslexia and Parkinson’s. 

CML is a nonprofit organization supported by tax-deductible donations and grants. The service is free of charge to all listeners. For more information, call toll-free at 888-724-6423 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time (three hours ahead of Pacific Time). The organization also has a website for information about its work, how to request a free subscription, access to issues, useful links, and contact information.

Visit Disability Program Website and 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.

The Disability NEWS is created and distributed twice monthly on the first and third Wednesdays 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.