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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office of Equity and Human Rights

Realizing Equity. Enhancing the City of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-4433

Fax: 503-823-4420

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

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File a Complaint

Any person who believes they have been the object of unequal treatment or discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin may file a complaint directly with the responsible City bureau or with the Civil Rights Title VI & Equity Manager for referral. 

This process applies to all complaints filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, arising from any program, service of or activity of the City of Portland or its sub recipients.

This is an administrative process that does not provide for compensatory or punitive damages.

The City’s process is not exclusive.  A person filing a complaint with the City may also file a complaint with other state or federal agencies or the courts.  Other agencies will have time limits for filing complaints.  Generally, federal agencies require Title VI complaints to be filed within 180 days of the date of the discrimination.

The Title VI complaint process does not cover complaints based on protections afforded under other civil rights statutes, such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or source of income.  If a complaint is filed alleging such discrimination, the complainant will be notified that it cannot be processed as a Title VI complaint.  However, the City will review complaints of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or source of income to determine if they can be informally resolved.  Please directly contact the responsible bureaus with complaints of this nature.

Complaints of discrimination based on disability will be handled under the City’s ADA Title II complaint process which is substantially similar to this Title VI complaint process.

To be accepted, a Title VI complaint must:

  • a) involve discrimination on the basis of race, color or  national origin;
  • b) allege that the discrimination was committed by the City of Portland, a City of Portland employee or a subrecipient of the City of Portland; and
  • c) be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination

Filing a Title VI Complaint:

Complaints should be filed with the responsible bureau or may be filed with, and then referred by the Title VI Program Manager, in the Office of Equity and Human Rights.

Complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant.  If the complainant needs assistance in reducing the complaint to writing or signing it, he or she may request assistance from the appropriate bureau or the Title VI Program Manager, or may have another person write and acknowledge the complaint on his or her behalf.

Complaints should include:

  • a) the name, address and phone number of the person who experienced the discriminatory action;
  • b) the date of the alleged act of discrimination or the date when the complainant(s) became aware of the alleged discrimination;  and
  • c) a brief but specific description of the discriminatory practice or action and any relevant facts, including as appropriate: 
    • 1) Where
    • 2) When
    • 3) City bureau, office, contractor or sub recipient involved
    • 4) What happened; who was involved; policy program or activity that was discriminatory; how you were discriminated against, treated or impacted; etc.

The complaint should include names and contact information of any witnesses, including city employees or contractors. 

Allegations may be faxed or e-mailed and will be acknowledged and processed once the identity of the complainant and the intent to proceed with the complaint have been established.

The complaint form must be signed or acknowledged, and returned to the Program Manager or appropriate bureau contact for processing. 

The original copy may be sent, faxed or emailed  to the bureau or to:

Civil Rights Title VI and Equity Manager

421 SW 6th Avenue Suite 500 

Portland,Oregon 97204

Fax 503-823-4420

Danielle.Brooks@portlandoregon.gov

Allegations received by telephone or TDD will be reduced to writing on a complaint form and provided to complainant for confirmation or revision before processing.

Processing A Title VI Complaint:

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Title VI Program Manager will refer to the appropriate bureau to determine:

  • a)      If  the complaint is complete;
  • b)      If additional information is needed;
  • c)      If the City has jurisdiction; and
  • d)      If the complaint is timely.

The Bureau will notify the complainant in writing within 15 working days either that the complaint is accepted or the complaint is not accepted.   If the complaint is not accepted, the Bureau will state why.  If the complaint is not accepted because additional information is needed, the complainant will be notified what information is needed.

If the Complaint is accepted, the City will investigate the merits of the complaint and will attempt to resolve it at the lowest level possible.

The Title VI Program Manager will be cc'd on all complaints submitted directly to City bureaus for intake.

In cases where the complaint is against one of the City of Portland’s subrecipients, the City will assume jurisdiction and will investigate the complaint.

In some instances the City will have a legal obligation to notify a state or federal agency of a Title VI complaint, and in such instances that agency may investigate the complaint.

Dismissal of Complaints:

The City of Portland may dismiss a complaint for any of the following reasons:

  • The complainant withdraws the complaint.
  • The complainant fails to respond to repeated requests for additional information needed to process the complaint.
  • The complaint is untimely.
  • The complainant cannot be located.
  • The complaint is determined to be legally insufficient. 

 Investigating and Tracking Title VI Complaints:

In cases in which the complaint is against the City, the responsible Bureau will work with the complainant to investigate, and attempt to resolve the complaint.  The option of informal mediation meetings may be used at any stage.  

The responsible Bureau will complete discrimination complaint investigations within sixty (60) business days after written notice of acceptance of the complaint. If the investigation is expected to exceed 60 business days, the Responsible Bureau will notify the complainant  of a revised timeline and the reason for the delay.

Once the investigation is complete, the responsible Bureau must provide a written response to the complainant with the findings and actions by the responsible Bureau. 

 

The City of Portland ensures meaningful access to City programs, services, and activities to comply with Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II laws and reasonably provides: translation, interpretation, modifications, accommodations, alternative formats, auxiliary aids and services. To request these services, contact 503-823-2595, City TTY 503-823-6868, Relay Service: 711 or request by email at Danielle.Brooks@portlandoregon.gov.  When possible, please allow 5 working days to receive the translation.  In some cases it may take longer, in which case you will be notified.  Some translations will take more time due to the complexity of the material and the availability of qualified translators.

 

 

You may file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Coordination and Compliance Section of the Civil Rights Division.  Visit Filing a Complaint, call (888) 848-5306 or mail your complaint directly to Federal Coordination and Compliance Section - 4CON, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20530.  For Transportation or Transit related complaints, you may file directly with either - the Federal Transit Administration: Office of Civil Rights Attention: Title VI Program Coordinator East Building, 5th Floor-TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20590 or - the Federal Highway Administration: Office of Civil Rights Attention: Title VI Program Coordinator, 8th Floor E81-105, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20590, call 202-366-0693, or visit the complaint webpage