Oregon Accessible Sidewalk Settlement Approved

closeup of the wheels of a wheelchair and the rider's feet, up against a curb that is not accessible

by Andy Jones
March 30, 2017

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon signed off March 27 on a comprehensive agreement, obligating the state to undergo its largest ever investment in accessible transportation.

“This landmark agreement means people who use wheelchairs won’t be forced to choose between navigating their chairs in traffic on busy highways or remaining isolated in their homes,” said Kathy Wilde, litigation director at Disability Rights Oregon, in a news release [PDF]. “For people with physical disabilities, being able to safely cross the street is prerequisite for being integrated into their communities.

“From trips to the grocery store to traveling to doctor’s appointments and socializing with friends, this agreement will enable more Oregonians with physical disabilities to participate fully in community life.”

Under the agreement, first announced in November [PDF], the state must audit all curb ramps and pedestrian signals on state highways before the end of the year.

In regard to the out-of-compliance or missing curb ramps, the state will have five years to repair 30 percent of them. After 10 years, 75 percent of the ramps must be completed, and all must be cured within 15 years.

A separate timetable will be negotiated for the pedestrian signals.

During construction, the state must create alternative routes and provide 10-day notice before commencing work.

In February 2016, Disability Rights Oregon, the Legal Aid Services of Oregon and private attorney Stephen Brischetto filed a class-action lawsuit [PDF] against the state Department of Transportation, on behalf of the Association of Oregon Centers for Independent Living and eight individuals.

You can read more about curb cut accessibility issues in Washington State, by visiting the #CrappyCurb page on Rooted in Rights, and by watching the "Show Us Your Crappy Curbs"  video:

Disability Rights Oregon and Disability Rights Washington are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Oregon and Washington, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.