Settlement Reached Over Oregon Sidewalks

a person in a scooter on the road, against an inaccessible curb

by Andy Jones
November 9, 2016

Disability advocates have reached a proposed agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation to make more than 10,000 curb ramps and pedestrian signals safer for people with disabilities, and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“As a grass-roots network of people with disabilities across Oregon, we are pleased that consumer advocacy resulted in an agreement ensuring more accessible communities. Listening to the voices of people with disabilities is vital for achieving enduring systems change,” said Barry Fox-Quamme, board president of the Association of Oregon Centers of Independent Living, in a news release[PDF].

Represented by Disability Rights Oregon, the AOCIL filed a federal lawsuit against the state [PDF] in February 2016, accusing it of systematically violating the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Under the timeline set forth in the proposed settlement, 30 percent of the state’s non-compliant curb ramps must be fixed by 2022, 75 percent by 2027, and all by 2032.

To fund these remediation efforts, the state will immediately allocate $5 million for fixing curb ramps and pedestrian signals already identified by the AOCIL, while another $18 million will be budgeted starting in 2018.

The ODOT must also create a public complaint process for ramps already remediated and hire an accessibility expert, among other changes.

“I feel like we got more through the settlement than we could’ve gotten through litigation,” DRO Legal Director Kathy Wilde told OPB FM.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon must still approve the settlement, which can be read here [PDF].

Attorneys from the Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Law Offices of Stephen L. Brischetto assisted DRO in the litigation.

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

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