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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

More Contact Info

June 8, 2012

Portland Commission on Disability


Friday, June 8, 2012

10:00 am – 1:00 pm


Portland Building: 2nd Floor, Conference Room C

1220 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Commissioners Present:

Amy Anderson                Steven Brown                 Jan Campbell

Christina Cooper            Alan DeLa Torre              Jewls Harris

Lavaun Heaster              Nicholas Johnson             Adam Kriss

Chris Logan                   Nyla McCarthy                 Phyllis Petteys

Suzanne Stahl                Joe VanderVeer

City of Portland Staff:

Amanda Fritz, City Commissioner

Dante James, Office of Equity & Human Rights Director

Patrick Philpott, Staff Support to the Commission

Danielle Brooks, Office of Management & Finance

Koffi Dessou, Office of Equity & Human Rights

Public attendees:

Wes & Maja Bjur

Debra Hubbard

Gary Van Allen, Goodwill Industries

Rosa Klein


Call to Order


Chair Nyla McCarthy called the meeting to order and roll call was conducted. It was noted that a quorum existed.


Public Comment


Maja Bjur introduced herself and her husband, Wes. She explained that they live in NW Portland, next to a restaurant. The previous owner had installed a handicap access ramp which the current owner has removed, refusing to reinstall it. Contact with the City resulted in a response that all that can be done is to urge them to restore the access ramp. The signage was also removed. They see others who stop to check the restaurant and then move on, seeing no access. The establishment is the Public House at 2327 NW Kearney Street. The new owner is Jason Pecva. Jan volunteered to review the site, speak with the owner and check with the City bureaus about any action. Nyla also said that the commission could follow up with a letter reminding the owner about accessibility issues.

Agenda & Minutes


Review and Approval of Agenda

Motion: Jan made a motion to approve the agenda. Jewls seconded the motion. The agenda was approved unanimously.

Review and Approval of Minutes (April 2012 Commission Meeting)

Motion: Jewls made a motion to approve the December 2011 meeting minutes. Joe seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.


Chair Report

Nyla opened with a report on the Office of Equity Strategic Planning meeting. She was the only person in the group at the meeting who was representing people with disabilities. She commented that there is still work to be done with allies on how disabilities and aging affects all ethnic groups. This was the last meeting of this group and a new advisory group will evolve with PCOD continuing to be involved. She encouraged other commissioners to be involved in these meetings and get to other organizations’ meetings to represent people with disabilities.

Concerning Commission business, she addressed attendance and its impact on the Commission’s work. Recruitment was another topic since there are currently five openings. She said the goal is to have the openings filled and represent the diversity of the community. There is also a process to be followed where candidates are considered by the exec group, approved by the full body and forwarded for final approval by City Council. No promises should be made that a candidate will become a commissioner to avoid any confusion. Potential candidates should be invited to a subcommittee meeting for them to see if the Commission will be a good fit for them.

Discussion turned to the overall activity of the four subcommittees. It is a Commissioner requirement to be active on one subcommittee. To improve the subcommittees’ activity levels and work: merging subcommittees, surveying the group/community, reviewing the work plans and holding an open house for recruitment were discussed as proposals. Nyla commented that anyone interested in pursuing any of the proposals should attend the Public Outreach & Awareness (POA) subcommittee meeting to work further on them. A feature article was mentioned to promote the Commission. Lavaun requested that anyone interested in working on outreach to please attend a POA meeting.

The next topic to discuss was a look at attendance and representation. The overall Commission is very large in size and that makes it difficult to maintain a quorum. The positions have become at-large and it was suggested to reduce the size to 23 positions, which was the number originally designated for at-large positions with the remaining eight to be agency positions. It would be advisable to review reducing the Commission size to one that could maintain a higher level of active commissioners.

Report from Storytelling Conference


Jewls opened the opened the report and outlined that using storytelling will provide a format to discuss what PCOD is. It can be dynamic and relevant to whomever one is speaking to. She described the process of storytelling with its parts of motivating the listener, considering the audience, outlining the stakes, developing trust and forming a relationship. The upcoming workshop will focus on a discussion with a potential candidate to help demonstrate how to form a partnership to share for improving inclusion and access.

Lavaun invited Commissioners to participate in the workshop to create a story of how the Commission was formed. There was discussion from the Commissioners about training people with traumatic brain injury storytelling, how the relationship part makes storytelling effective and how the process could develop a strategy for funding program development. It was noted that there was considerable interest and Lavaun would follow up with sending out information on the workshop.


Candidates Forums


There was discussion to conduct a candidates’ forum at the previous Commission meeting in April, but given the limited amount of time available, Nyla offered a proposal. In August, the mayoral candidates would be invited to the meeting with an extra hour at the end to conduct the forum. There would be prepared questions and the event advertised to the public. In October, the same format would be held for the Commissioner Position One position. The forums would be promoted to the public and the media with the possibility of having the forums videotaped being explored. Nyla requested that a motion be made to hold the forums at the next two Commission meetings. The forums would have a moderator to keep the forum moving. Regarding logistics, all Commissioners would be notified to provide input on the questions. The public would also be solicited for input. Use of the Portland Building’s auditorium was suggested, but accessibility for wheelchairs is limited. Other locations would be explored for conducting the event, including the 1900 Building that may have some large rooms available.

Motion: Suzanne moved, seconded by Nicholas, to add to the August and October Commission agendas time for candidates’ forums. The motion was approved unanimously.


TriMet Budget Letter


Commissioner Amanda Fritz had not arrived, so discussion was opened about providing a letter from the Commission to TriMet regarding its budget proposal. Adam spoke to the group about the TriMet’s upcoming consideration for its next fiscal year budget and cuts to services that will affect people with disability. The decision will be rendered on June 14. He discussed the two issues that will have an impact on the disability community. The lift service is facing reductions to its boundaries because of fixed route reductions and the free rail zone is facing elimination. He felt that the Commission could provide its input to the transportation agency that there are no valid options. Nyla mentioned that Adam had provided a letter in advance and discussed the background of the Commission working with TriMet.

Jan provided background on letters of concern that have been sent previously. She outlined further information on this complex issue. If a fixed route exists within a quarter mile of an individual, lift service will be available. Also, a $10, two-year  honored citizen pass is available for downtown residents. The suggestion is to send another letter of concern to the board that explains the need for transportation for those dependent on public transportation and urging them to consider this in its budget proposal.

Discussion was suspended to move to the open captioning resolution that would be explained by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who had just arrived.


Open Captioning Resolution


Amanda opened by saying that she was glad to return and speak to the Commission. She discussed the proposal to caption all videos that would be used on the City’s website. The resolution will direct the City to move forward on that work. Nyla reminded the group that this had been proposed in the Commission’s work plan and proposed substituting the word media for video since this was more inclusive of the content being provided online. Commissioner Fritz added that work is moving forward to add an auditory loop in City Council Chambers. She requested feedback on the parameters of content to be captioned.

The discussion considered categorizing old content for relevancy, basing the number of hits for captioning and captioning on request. Amanda requested that Commissioners send any suggestions to her office. Phyllis commented that all content should be captioned. If video is summarized, then captioning may not be necessary. If there is a need for captioning, then it should be provided.

Since many videos are being posted almost immediately, due to the emphasis on social media, Amanda asked for feedback regarding captioning. Would it be acceptable to post them prior to captioning and then provide the captioning when it is available? One response was that if there is a time limit, that would affect the need for captioning. The time frame should have careful consideration to be sure that public participation is available. There was a recommendation for real-time captioning for important, newsworthy events. Amanda responded that Council meetings currently receive that treatment. The criteria for considering what should be captioned is problematic and one suggestion is that everything be captioned. Amanda said the existing content what has to be considered. The current accommodation request for ASL interpretation is 48 hours, which some thought is a realistic time frame to adopt.

Motion: Jewls moved, seconded by Lavaun, for the Portland Commission on Disability to support the captioning resolution with the substitution of media for the word video. The motion was approved unanimously.

Amanda noted that the resolution would come before City Council in the next few weeks. She said that the Commission would be part of the process of developing the implementation plan that requires a report to Council by September 1. A contract would be developed for the bureaus to have captioning provided.

Nyla then introduced Dante James, director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, the meeting attendees. He said that he wanted to hear the Commission’s responses to the resolution. He had met with several of the bureaus last week to begin the conversation on adopting the resolution. Dante said that the bureaus should come to the Commission and get their input on disability concerns. Jan questioned when a door opener would be added to the OEHR office in the Commonwealth Building and if the Commission could be involved. He replied that he would check into it so more Commission meetings could be held there.


New Business


Disability Rights of Oregon Goals & Priorities

Bob Joondeph, director of DRO, was introduced and he said he wanted to gather input from the Commission for his organization to use in setting its future goals and priorities. He provided background on DRO and discussed funding cuts that have reduced programs, also putting others at risk. A survey was available online to help DRO determine its priorities that he encouraged everyone to access and provide their input. There were questions and discussion from the group.


Request for Commission consultants on ADA Transition Plan

Danielle Brooks, ADA coordinator for the City, described the ADA Title II Transition Plan which is being updated. There is funding for the first phase of three and a RFP has been developed. MIG has been contracted to begin the work. She was at the meeting to bring this to the attention of stakeholders and encourage Commission involvement. They will be determining the sites and priorities. There are well over 500 sites being reviewed. There are three priority levels consisting of low, medium and high. Danielle asked for the names of Commissioners who wished to be involved. The report will be reviewed for approval by the Commission. There was discussion and questions from the members of the Commission.


Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative Membership

Amy introduced Rose Klein from the Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative which is looking for members to participate on its citizen advisory council. Rose said that she was at the meeting to solicit applications for involvement on the council. She wished to have representation for people with disabilities and offered to discuss the collaborative’s work. Rose also provided details on meeting frequency and the council’s goals.


TriMet Budget Letter

Discussion resumed on the proposal to send a letter of concern to TriMet regarding its budget cuts and their effect on people with disabilities. Besides the Commission providing a letter to TriMet, commissioners were reminded to send letters of their own. Because of time concerns since TriMet was scheduled to meet the next week, the letter would be provided for Adam to hand-deliver at the Wednesday meeting.

Motion: Adam moved, seconded by Jan, for the PCOD executive committee to draft a letter of concern to TriMet regarding its budget cuts and send it to the transportation agency. The motion was approved unanimously.


Other Event & Meeting Announcements

Lavaun spoke about the upcoming Colored Pencils event that PCOD, Connecting Communities and the Disability Art & Culture Project are co-hosting. The event will feature artists with disabilities on June 29 in the courtyard of the Oregon Historical Society. She encouraged commissioners to attend and that food and beverages would be provided.

Phyllis reported that a party would be held to celebrate the passage of the Model Employer Resolution on June 22 at the Red Star from 4 to 8 pm.

Public Outreach & Awareness members were also invited to attend the next meeting of the Livability & Wellness Subcommittee. There would be discussion about changes to the two subcommittees.

Nyla reported that the State of Oregon would be recruiting two training and media specialists in the near future. More information would be provided when the positions are posted.

An ADA celebration would be the subject of the July 26 Connecting Communities general membership meeting at the 1900 Building.




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