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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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April 12, 2013

Portland Commission on Disability

Friday, April 12, 2012  •  10 am to 1 pm

Steele/Bridge Rooms, Office of Equity & Human Rights 421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, Oregon 97204

Commissioners Present:

      Amy Anderson                                 Steven Brown                                Jan Campbell

      Christina Cooper                             Alan DeLa Torre                            Eli Ettinger

      Sophie Goddyn                                 LaVaun Heaster                            Jim Jackson

      Phyllis Petteys                                  Suzanne Stahl                                Michael Szporluk

      Joe VanderVeer                              


City of Portland Staff: Patrick Philpott, Office of Equity and Human Rights
                                 Shelli Tompkins, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management
                                 Debbie Bischoff, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
                                 Eric Engstrom, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
                                 Bob Glascock, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Bill Cunningham, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Shoshanan Oppenheim, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Public Attendees: David Viers, Carol Studenmund, Brenda Jose, Debra Hubbard



Chair Joe VanderVeer called the meeting to order and roll call was conducted. With the inclusion of five proxies, it was determined that a quorum existed.





Motion: Joe made a motion to approve the agenda. Lavaun seconded the motion. The agenda was approved unanimously.

Motion: Jewls made a motion to approve the August 2012 meeting minutes. Lavaun seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.



1        Nyla reported that she had received questions from commissioners about the upcoming commission elections. She noted that anyone may run for the chair or vice chair positiions. Commissioners may nominate themselves or be nominated by another member of the Commission. Nominations should be forwarded in advance to the executive commission. Officer duties and responsibilities were noted. There were further questions and discussion.



1        Update on reappointments: It was noted that the list of reappointments was being processed for final approval by City Council in the near future. The list of original commissioners being reappointed read aloud. It was stressed that people should be fulfilling their meeting attendance requirements and notifying committee chairs if they would be unable to attend a meeting.



1        Office of Equity and Human Rights Information/Feedback Request: Lavaun presented a request from Koffi Dessou for the Commission to provide information related to his training program. The program for City employees is to help them recognize bias that may be contained in language. He had provided a document of terms that are objectionable to people with disabilities. Lavaun asked that Commissioners review the document and provide feedback on the document. The emphasis is on how language can affect people’s attitudes.

Motion: Lavaun made a motion that Michael will draft a new document for the Commission to provide to Koffi. Suzanne seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

2        Retreat Agenda and Format:  Nyla noted that the upcoming retreat would be from 8:30 am to 4 pm on February 8th. It would be a retreat and include the election of officers. Some commissioners volunteered to work with the exec to design the agenda.

3        City of Portland and Department of Justice Settlement: Nyla introduced Jan Friedman from Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) to the Commissioners. Jan briefly explained that DRO is a non-profit, publicly funded, legal rights organization that serves people with disabilities. Her presentation was to explain the recent settlement between the City of Portland and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The settlement is very favorable for people with disabilities and, particularly, people with mental health issues. The DOJ intervened with the City because of a disproportionate number of shooting deaths by police in the community. Community advocates and other organizations had complaints about the excessive use of force by police and a lack of discipline. Intervention was requested by the community which resulted in a DOJ investigation.
The investigation lasted 14 months and found substantial evidence that agreed with the complaints. A settlement was reached to address the issues with an conclusion within five years. There are penalties for failing to comply with the terms of the agreement. The purpose of the agreement is that people experiencing a mental health crisis do not receive an use of excessive force when they encounter the police. The agreement provides for adapting and/or revising policies and procedures for that purpose to go into effect. There are seven areas to address that: use of force standards, training, crisis intervention, employee information system, community engagement, officer accountability, and community-based mental health systems. Details were provided about for these areas. She sees the Citizens Oversight Advisory Board (COAB) would be extremely important for the stakeholders and for the agreement to achieve its goals.

4        Public Safety Committee -- Nyla provided some background of the Commission’s work with the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), most notably the registry concerns. A follow up report was never provided after a Commission presentation by a PPB liaison. The registry is actually unaccessible to the officers in the field. That is still being monitored.
Nyla stressed the importance of the COAB and the method of how members are to be appointed and selected. PCOD and the Human Rights Commission will make their own appointments and then those two members will select three other members of COAB. Nyla has been discussing this with the new HRC chair and provided a sample application for the COAB to use. In addition to the five positions already mentioned, there are also five other at-large positions.
Nyla recommended that a Public Safety Committee be created as formal work of the Commission as a liaison to COAB. This will be the voice of the Commission as an advisor to COAB. This is also an opportunity for the public to participate with the Commission on this critical issue. 


Motion: Jewls made a motion that the Public Safety Committee be formed and also assume the public safety responsibilities of the Livability and Wellness Committee. Suzanne seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

There was further discussion about the work of the new committee. Nyla outlined some duties of the committee and fielded questions. There would be additional work during the retreat to layout more details on the committee work.



Motion: Suzanne moved, seconded by Lavaun, to adjourn the Commission meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.