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Disability NEWS – January 17, 2018

Banner for the Disability NEWS

Above: Banner for the Disability NEWS with the Disability Program logo.

January 17, 2018

 In This Issue…

  • Communications staff representative opening in Commissioner Eudaly’s office
  • 2018 Design Challenge for high school students is to make everyday accessible for all
  • DRO reports that filing an Earned Income Tax Credit can help lower income taxes
  • Participants being recruited to help shape a new, more inclusive playground at Gabriel Park
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society Scholarship applications open until January 31st
  • MULTCO Elections Division helping voters with disabilities vote in January 23 Special Election
  • State Advisory Council for Special Education meets January 25th, public comments welcome
  • Free From Falls is a comprehensive fall prevention program for people with MS
  • Visit Disability Program Facebook page for more news, event postings

Communications staff representative position is open in Commissioner Eudaly’s office

The Office of Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is seeking a Communications Staff Representative. The primary function of this specialized role is connecting the public with the work of Commissioner Eudaly, her staff and the City of Portland. This position is posted on the City of Portland’s Human Resources website that will provide more details, including how to apply.

Using creative communication strategies and technical expertise, the successful applicant will work closely with the Commissioner and collaborate with other team members to provide information to the public consistently in a manner that is accessible and compelling.

An ideal candidate will have experience developing effective strategies to deliver meaningful communications.  Candidates must demonstrate exceptional interpersonal skills as well as the ability to gracefully manage stressful, demanding and fast-paced work.

This position is exempt from Civil Service and is an "At Will" position. It serves at the discretion of the hiring authority, subject to City of Portland Human Resources Administrative rules and Portland City Charter and Code.

2018 Design Challenge for high school students is to make everyday accessible for all

The 2018 National High School Design Competition at the Cooper Hewitt Smithstonian Design Museum is a competition that challenges students to make the everyday accessible by considering a place, process, or object they regularly use, identifying a challenge that a user with a disability might have with it. They are to design a solution that addresses that challenge and makes the place, process, or object more accessible for all.

The competition encourages students to be ambitious, innovative, and bold. The design competition is open to all teens ages 13 through 19 years old who are high school students in 9th through 12th grades, or who are homeschooled students working toward a high school degree anywhere in the United States. Participants may enter as an individual or as a team of up to three people. The entry deadline is February 12 by 11:59 p.m. EST.

The National High School Design Competition is organized in two stages. In Stage One, competitors will create and submit their design ideas per the entry requirements. Cooper Hewitt will select three finalists to proceed to Stage Two of the Design Competition. All Stage One entries will be judged anonymously.

During Stage Two, the three finalists will finalize their designs according to the requirements in the National High School Design Competition: Stage Two Brief document, which will be sent only to the selected finalists. Then, finalists will participate in a series of mentoring activities and travel to New York City to present their designs in person to the judges.

For more information about what the winner and three finalists will be awarded; competition rules and conditions; entry requirements; resources, and more, visit the Cooper Hewitt 2018 National High School Design Competition website.

DRO reports that filing an Earned Income Tax Credit can help lower income taxes

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) recently reported that there is a federal tax credit that may help limit the amount of income tax owed or even provide a refund. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps working people with low to moderate income keep more of what they earn. A tax credit usually means more money in their pocket. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.

Any EITC refund that you receive will not be considered income for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or low-income housing. In addition, the amount will not count as a resource for 12 months from receipt of the refund. That means you can keep these important benefits that help take care of basic needs, while also keeping more money in your wallet. 

The CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Oregon website links to a calculator that you can use to see if you qualify for this benefit. CASH Oregon supports free tax preparation and tax credit outreach in 32 Oregon counties at more than 135 tax sites. Find a location for a free tax site near you. 

Oregon also has its own state EITC. So, here in Oregon people have the ability to access both the state and federal EITC. You can find more information on the State of Oregon’s EITC website.

DRO’s mission is to promote and defend the rights of individuals with disabilities. It envisions a society in which persons with disabilities have equality of opportunity, full participation and the ability to exercise meaningful choice. Learn more about DRO and its services on its website.

Participants being recruited to help shape a new, more inclusive playground at Gabriel Park

Portland Parks & Recreation is seeking Project Advisory Committee (PAC) members to serve in advising the design process for playground renovations at Gabriel Park. Playground users, nearby neighbors, and people experiencing disabilities in their families or themselves are encouraged to apply by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, to serve on the PAC. To find out more and apply, please go to the application website.

Thanks to funding from the Parks Replacement Bond, Gabriel Park's playground will be replaced with a new, more inclusive and accessible play area. The playground is located at S.W. 37th Avenue and Vermont Street. Through a Project Advisory Committee and Community Gathering events, the community will help guide the development of the design for an inclusive playground.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society Scholarship applications open until January 31st

The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society’s scholarship program is designed to support families impacted by MS through minimizing the cost and isolation that exists for students living with MS (or with a parent living with MS) who are pursuing a college education. The 2018 Scholarship Program is now open and closes after January 31.

These scholarship awards can help with college costs such as books, supplies, and living expenses. The program also connects students to additional support resources and opportunities to engage with others in the MS community.

Recipients are selected based on academic merit, impact of MS on the family, and financial need. Applicants are reviewed by a nationwide volunteer review committee to ensure the most meritorious scholars are selected. Applications are accepted online only and the application portal will be open through January 31.

It is anticipated that 300 to 400 scholarships will be granted (dependent on funding available). The application review and selection process is competitive and not all applicants will be granted an award.

To learn more about the application timeline, eligibility requirements, additional scholarship resources, and frequently asked questions about the program, visit the National MS Scholarship Application Information page.

MULTCO Elections Division to help voters with disabilities vote in January 23 Special Election

State Measure 101 is the focus of a January 23 Special Election to approve temporary assessments to fund health care for low-income individuals and families, and to stabilize health insurance premiums. The Multnomah County Elections Division will assist voters with disabilities or voters who need help in their native language.

Voters with disabilities can request help with voting from a friend, family member or someone else they know. If needed, voters can also call and request voting and elections related help from Multnomah County Elections.

Elections Voter AssistanceTeams can help a voter in their home, at the facility they live in, or at an elections service location in Southeast Portland or Gresham. This help is always free of charge. Legally, employers or union representatives cannot provide assistance. 

Voters with limited English proficiency can also request assistance. Multnomah County Elections provides an interpreter, free of charge to anyone who needs help in voting or elections processes in a language other than English. Telephone interpretation is available in any language and there are bilingual elections staff. 

Further information is available on the Elections Voter Assistance is available on the county’s website. Multnomah County Elections Division provides also information about the January 23 Special Election and other elections scheduled during 2018 on its website.

State Advisory Council for Special Education meets January 25th, public comments welcome

The Oregon Department of Education will be holding a State Advisory Council for Special Education meeting on Thursday, January 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Public Service Building, Room 251A/B, at 255 Capitol Street N.E. in Salem.

During this meeting, the Department of Education will seek advisement from the councils in regards to Special Education in the State of Oregon.

Public Comment is welcome from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. A GoToMeeting call in option is available. Please email for additional information or to request a draft agenda.

All meetings of the State Advisory Council for Special Education are open to the public and conform to Oregon public meeting laws. Staff respectfully requests that people wishing to testify submit 50 collated copies of written materials at the time of their testimony. Persons sharing video or using audio presentations are asked to contact Khansaa Bakri at 24 hours prior to the meeting. ADA accommodation requests should be made by calling 503-947-5823 7-10 days prior to January 25, 2018.

Free From Falls, a comprehensive fall prevention program for people with MS, starts in February

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Portland has announced that “Free From Falls” is being offered as an eight-week series from February 26 through April 16. It is a comprehensive fall prevention program for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dr. Michelle Cameron, a neurologist at the Veterans Administration Portland Health Care System, is studying the effects of two methods of fall prevention on reducing falls in people with multiple sclerosis. One group will participate in the Free From Falls eight-week educational and exercise classes.

For more information and to register, please contact Andrea Hildebrand, Research Study Coordinator, at the VA at 503-220-8262, extension 52016.

Michelle H. Cameron, M.D., P.T., a neurologist and physical therapist, is an associate professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University and at the VA Portland Health Care System.

Dr. Cameron provides clinical neurology care to people with MS and related disorders and participates in various other clinical trials of MS treatments. Her research focuses on imbalance and falls in people with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Cameron teaches continuing education courses on balance and falls and courses on the use of physical agents in rehabilitation to providers around the world.

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.