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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 114, Portland, OR 97204

How our Disability Program transforms your engagement


A space for everybody and every body and mind. 

We can partner with your bureau to teach your staff how to create processes, policies, and community engagement programs that are accessible and welcoming to people with a wide range of disabilities, cultural backgrounds, languages, and religions.

Our Disability Program did just that during our 2017 and 2018 leadership programs.


During our 2017 and 2018 leadership programs, our Disability Program designed, facilitated and hosted a series of workshops for over 30 disabled activists with a range of experience levels. Each year’s cohort was cross-disability, multigenerational, cross-culture, and religiously diverse.

Creating an accessible space meant physically, emotionally, visually, cognitively, aurally, and linguistically accessible. physical space, curriculum, and group processes were intentionally designed with access in mind. Accommodation requests were expected and encouraged. Emotional accessibility was encouraged with an explicit anti-racist lens and clear community agreements.

Contact us now to learn how the lessons we learned can apply to your policies, processes, programs, and events.


Do you wish your community engagement efforts were reaching Portlanders with a wider range of identities and life experiences? Contact us for support, tips, and tools to transform your program or bureau’s community engagement to include Portland’s diverse, multicultural disability communities. Our experience creating accessible, meaningful, and long-term community engagement will give you the tools you need to create respectful relationships and energize your outreach efforts.

The Disability Program has supported Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Bureau of Development Services, Multnomah County, The Collins Foundation, and Office of Equity and Human Rights to engage disability communities.

These requests came in response to recruitment efforts, policy developments under consideration, strategic plan development, and new program and services offerings.

Outreach strategies have centered around long-term relationship building with individuals and organizations using an equity lens. Bureaus were asked to thoughtfully frame the request of community, be clear about the impact community can have on the process, and be transparent about the compensation offered for community members’ time, expertise, and effort.

 More about Our Disability Program

Building on 1970’s efforts to address disability discrimination in City of Portland and Multnomah County governments, the Disability Program was formally established in 2004.

Continuing this program’s long history of adapting to changing community and bureau needs, we increasingly focus on transforming how our City connects to Portland’s diverse disability communities.

Visit our Disability Program page to find strategies for access, tips for implementation, and community resources.

In 2019, we are: 

  • Spearheading a citywide disability equity and engagement study. This study will result in a more accurate depiction of Portland’s diverse disability communities and improved Citywide service equity..
  • Publishing our Access Tip of the Month series, continuing to share tools, resources, and perspectives from around the world to support Portland’s disability equity efforts.
  • Initiating and continuing collaborations that enhance and transform the way our City builds relationship with, learns from, and adapts to Portland's Disability Communities. 

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