Disability advocates invited to ‘Pitch a Project’

yankeesWhat’s on your wish list? Do you have a dream project in mind that would help you serve, support or advocate for persons with disabilities? Every dream could be a big hitter. No project is too small for our big league team here at the Connecting Communities Coalition (CCC).

CCC is Oregon’s first cross-disability coalition. It was launched in late 2009 to fill a gap in the disability community and address the need for an all-inclusive coalition focused on removing barriers. CCC is unique in that it includes nonprofits, businesses and individuals involved in disability issues.

“Pitch a Project” is an opportunity to obtain support for your project from seven of Portland’s top leaders in the disability community. CCC’s leadership is an insightful group of professionals with experience empowering and supporting persons with disabilities for many years.

They’re here to share their passion and commitment to persons in the disability community through this innovative “Pitch a Project.” Tell them about your project, convince them of its value and potential to bring about change. If your project is selected, you’ll be part of a winning team and learn key tips in project development and completion.

The project winner will receive:A $100 gift certificate

  • A full media campaign by the PHC Northwest public relations department.
  • A page on the CCC website, dedicated exclusively to your project, so we can tell your story and engage the community in your project.
  • Project support and guidance from the CCC steering committee.
  • Project recognition at the CCC Annual Event on Oct. 14, 2014, which will expose your project to 500 attendees including local and state public officials, business and foundations leaders.

To qualify, the project proposal needs to include a description, time table, budget and names and contact information of at least three individuals involved. The deadline to submit your project is June 1, 2014. The selected project will be notified by the last week in June.

Heavy Hitters Jury:

  • Barbara Dirks, Disability Rights Oregon
  • Jan Campbell, Multnomah Aging and Disability Services; Portland Commission on Disability
  • Allison Falleur, Community Vision
  • Stan Postlethwait, Kaiser Permanente
  • Lynda Van Doran, Diversity & Inclusion of EID Passport, Inc.
  • Polly Livingston CRC NCC, Educational Consultant
  • Victoria Kearns, PHC Northwest

Go here for an application.

‘Rules’ questioned on disability inquiry

Marjorie McGeeThe following is from Marjorie McGee who has more than 15 years of experience in working specifically in the disability community, and nearly 10 years in public health. She offers her skills and expertise in working across-disability, ensuring that all have a voice, and assurance to equitable community partnerships.

In 2006 Ms. McGee founded an organization called the Women with Disabilities Health Equity Coalition (WowDHEC) that created a coalition of leaders with disabilities and public health leaders to undertake a variety of educational and outreach activities aimed at the medical and disability communities. She is currently a doctoral student in Social Work Research at Portland State University where she is an adjunct professor in child and family services, family law and policies. 

Ms. McGee is passionate about addressing health and social inequities, disability studies, social work and public health and health and social inequities. She has also published considerably on these issues.  Here she addresses the CCC community:

Dear colleagues and friends,

I am writing because the draft rules for HB 2134 sets the standardization of response options when demographic data is being collected by the Oregon Dept of Human Services and their contractors–for race/ethnicity, language, and disability (!).

I was one of four “disability experts” on  the rule (and the only one with a visible disability) on the advisory committee which met four times in November and December 2013. I was pleased that finally disability status might be collected as a demographic.

Imagine that we could talk about social and health inequities experienced by people with disabilities compared to non-disabled people using survey data! Since we know that not all people with disabilities experience inequities the same way, imagine if we were able to talk about inequities more specifically! Imagine if we had such data for funders who are always wanting to see “the data!”

However, the final rules are disappointing. Below are some key points that, in my opinion, are problematic. If you have additional key points,  let others know.

1.  Staff and contractors (p 10) “shall ask open ended questions designed to elicit an unprompted response related to disability status.”  This is challenging as such open-ended questions are unlikely to documented in a standardized way, and likely will have to do with eligibility or access needs, instead of how a person self-identifies as a person with a disability.

2. They do not state a requirement to have any disability related questions on data collection forms or intake forms–as they do for race/ethnicity and language. Instead they do suggest a number of questions that people can ask (ACS questions) … (we had favored the Washington Short Form questions which includes level of severity (getting at differences within groups as well as between groups).

Interesting. I wonder if it is optional to collect on a written form? Will agencies really make changes to do that?

3. They define disability using ORS 659A.104 . Yet, in the rules, for race/ethnicity and language, they did not refer back to EEOC rules, etc. Instead they use the categories that generally are used and understood by people of color.

I am hearing from my colleagues on the RAC focused on race/ethnicity and language that they are also disappointed in the rules. This is an opportunity for us to work in solidarity -across cultures and across disability.  There are more points and issues. I am attaching the rules.

Please spread the word, study these rules, and connect with others in your networks. Now is the time!

There will be a public hearing on February 24, 2014, 9am at:  421 SW Oak Street, Suite 750 in the Lincoln Building (1st Floor Pine Room).  If you can come and testify – great! I don’t know for how long, and they do not specify if there will be ASL interpreting or captioning (we will just need to make that request!).

If you can’t attend,  they will accept written comments by February 26, 5 p.m. (address to Keely West, Hearings Officer, 500 Summer Street. NE, Salem, OR 97301). Even if you do attend, it would probably be good to send written comments anyway!

If you are interested in having a  meeting (phone/in person/skype) to plan a response, please let me know. I am hoping we can find time next week Weds or Friday.  Please let me know by this Friday of your interest.  If you don’t want to meet, but want more information, etc., let me know that also.

Most importantly-please spread the word to your networks (please include to OAD, DWU, ILR,  Portland Disability Commission,  etc).  I know it may be difficult for all of us to agree on the questions–but hopefully we agree that it is time we are counted and included!

Best, Marjorie

CCC welcomes Oregon Adaptive Sports

It’s winter and the radiant sun glistening off the ski slopes is a perfect excuse to put on your skis and go for a run. But, if you’re a person with a disability, that opportunity might have eluded you if it weren’t for Oregon Adaptive Sports, which has joined the CCC to share its wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion for Oregon’s beautiful outdoors with persons with disabilities.

Oregon adaptive sports 2 In 1996 Jack Alexander, a retired biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, organized a grass-roots adaptive program to share his love of skiing and the outdoors with disabled persons who needed assistance on the mountain. The program began by offering skiing at Mt. Bachelor. In 2003, his growing organization was accepted as a chapter of Disabled Sports USA. Soon after, adaptive skiing was moved to the Hoodoo ski areas, which offers an easily accessible and ADA-compliant base lodge, secure equipment storage, and mountain terrain, well suited to the needs of adaptive skiers. Today, it offers a full range of adaptive programs and lessons at both locations.

In the summer of 2012, Oregon Adaptive Sports expanded its service to include a larger variety of outdoor recreation experiences to individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities by attaining U.S. Paralympics sport club status and adding its first summer sports programs in golf, cycling, hiking, and kayaking.

The programs provide families of persons with disabilities with the education and skills to enjoy these experiences together. Oregon Adaptive Sports’ programs, participants, athletes, and families are able to gain confidence and independence, build self-esteem, meet positive role models, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life.

CCC is honored to have Oregon Adaptive Sports among its coalition of organizations and individuals serving and advocating for the dignity and empowerment of persons with disabilities across all disciplines.

To contact Oregon Adaptive Sports at its Bend location, call 541-848-9390 or visit its website at www.oregonadaptivesports.org.

CCC welcomes Adventures without Limits

Winter or summer, rock climbing or snowshoeing, Adventures without Limits (AWL) has been getting people outdoors into the amazing natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest for 15 years. Yes, that’s everyone!

awl1The program, which offers whitewater rafting, inflatable kayaking, flat-water kayaking, canoeing, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, teambuilding, caving, camping, hiking, and recumbent biking, has joined the CCC in its effort to ensure and advocate for the dignity, independence and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

 “Our outdoor trips are outstanding because we are committed to meeting the individual needs of every person that comes out with us,” according to Brad Bafaro, who founded Adventures without Limits in 1995 as a year-round program to provide all children with a quality outdoor experience.

 “We want all our participants to have a fun and rewarding adventure. What’s more, we want to help you gain new skills, increase your self-confidence, overcome your fears, and work toward reaching your individual goals.”

 awl2Bafaro has worked in special education in the Forest Grove School district for more than 30 years. Currently, as director of the department, he has helped develop and implement an inclusive education model for students with disabilities. He has taught Adapted Physical Activity courses at Pacific University and has served as a special physical education consultant for t U.S. Department of Education.

 The program has focused on taking out people who normally would not have a chance to get outdoors. This has included those with physical and developmental disabilities, at-risk and homeless youth, and low-income individuals. It began by offering “inclusive” day trips on weekends, and then expanded offerings to serve adults, families, and groups, on single and multiple day trips. Everyone benefits from getting out in nature, being physically active, and socializing with friends and peers. It encourages all people wanting to experience beginner- to intermediate-level outdoor adventures to explore its’ many and diverse outdoors programs.

 awl5Adventures without Limits offers two styles of outdoor programs: Trips For Everyone, in which it designates the activity, location, date, and time, and its Custom Trip Program. 

 Adventures are throughout the Willamette Valley, Oregon Coast, Central Oregon, and Western Washington. Outdoor clothing, transportation, adaptive equipment, instruction, financial support through scholarships, guidance, mentorship, and all outdoor gear are provided as needed.

 CCC is honored to have Adventures without Limits among its strong coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to serving and advocating for persons with disabilities.

 To contact Adventures without Limits at its Forest Grove location, call 503-359-2568 or visit its website at www.aoloutdoors.org.

2014 legislative session open for business

The 2014 legislative session opened Monday, February 3.  By law, this will be a short session.  It must end by March 9.  This means that the process will move very quickly.  In most cases, committees will need to vote out the bills originally assigned to them by February 13.  If passed by one chamber, the committee assigned a bill in the second chamber will need to vote it out by February 25.  If those deadlines are not met, a bill “dies.”

CapitolBuilding185x118You can read any bill and follow all the action here. As of now, only House Committees have posted some hearing schedules for next week.  Hearings are open to the public and can be watched on your computer.

Bills that have been scheduled for hearing that are of particular interest to the disability community are:

House Education Committee

The following is a list of Disability-Related Bills that have been filed for this 2014 Oregon Legislative Session

Senate Bills

SB 1505 – Excludes veterans’ disability benefits from calculation of spousal support awards in family law proceedings.

SB 1515 – Establishes work group to examine feasibility of Internet voting.

SB 1523 – Requires coverage of applied behavior analysis and treatment of children with pervasive developmental disorder by self-insured plans offered by Public Employees’ Benefit Board, Oregon Educators Benefit Board and Oregon Health and Science University.

SB 1526 – Requires Oregon Health Authority to request federal approval to use Children’s Health Insurance Program funds to subsidize costs of commercial health insurance coverage for children with family incomes from 200 percent to 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

SB 1528 – Alters method by which moneys are distributed to school districts for purpose of paying for costs of education of students in eligible day treatment programs and eligible residential treatment programs.

SB 1539 – Imposes requirements on step therapy drug protocols required by specified persons that pay for or reimburse claims for prescription drugs.

SB 1542 – Allows private payers to hire home care workers through registry maintained by Home Care Commission.

SB 1543 – Makes reduction of hours worked by full-time employee for sole purpose of preventing employee’s eligibility for coverage under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unlawful employment practice.

SB 1553 – Directs Governor to appoint Oregon Public Guardian and Conservator in office of Long Term Care Ombudsman to provide public guardian and conservator services for persons without relatives or friends willing or able to serve as guardians or conservators.

SB 1565 – Prohibits discrimination based on age, expected length of life, present or predicted disability, degree of medical dependency or quality of life in issuance of health benefit plans and in determination of medical services covered by state medical assistance program.

SB 1566 – Declares state public policy to promote coordinated provision of education, employment and job training.

SB 1580 – Prohibits methadone clinic from commencing operation at site within 1,000 feet of pediatric clinic or public park.

SB 1577 – Requires Department of State Police and all sheriffs and municipal police departments to adopt written policies relating to missing vulnerable adults on or before January 1, 2015.

House Bills

HB 4004 – Makes corrections to provisions related to income tax subtraction for senior medical expenses, tax treatment of domestic international sales corporations and distribution of proceeds from cigarette tax.

HB 4009 – Provides that Department of Education is responsible for provision of educational services to students admitted to pediatric nursing facilities and for payment of costs for those services.

HB 4036 – Expands crime of assault in the third degree to include, under certain circumstances, causing physical injury to person employed at state mental hospital.

HB 4053 – Modifies biennial distribution to Legal Aid Account from

HB 4061 – Prohibits public bodies from adopting rules, enacting ordinances or instituting policies that require health care practitioners to provide medically inaccurate information or medical services inconsistent with appropriate and evidence-based standards or that prohibit health care practitioners from providing medical services consistent with appropriate and evidence-based standards.

HB 4062 – Modifies standards that State Board of Education must adopt related to student education records.

HB 4087 – Establishes Task Force on School Safety.

HB 4088 – Modifies crime of criminal mistreatment in first degree to include sexual contact with dependent person by person paid to provide care for dependent person.

HB 4108 – Requires Oregon Health Authority to contract with community-based organizations to operate pilot project to provide used durable medical equipment to medical assistance recipients.

HB 4114 – Authorizes court to appoint protected person special advocate in protective proceeding at any time after appointment of fiduciary.

HB 4118 – Requires qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities to pay state minimum wage and otherwise comply with state labor and occupational health and safety laws.

HB 4124 – Establishes Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Coordinator within that part of Oregon Health Authority that works with mental health and addiction issues. Sets forth responsibilities of coordinator. Requires update of Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan once every five years. Directs coordinator to report to Legislative Assembly regarding first plan update by January 1, 2015.

HB 4140 – Provides that individual may not, by agreement or otherwise, waive any right that individual has by reason of law, rule, ordinance or other regulation of this state, or political subdivision of this state, that provides for protecting consumer health, safety or welfare unless law, rule, ordinance or regulation specifically permits waiver.

HB 4150 – Revises assessment and grading system standards for school districts.

HB 4151 – Requires investigations of abuse of persons 65 years of age or older to be completed within 120 days from date of report of abuse and preparation of written report upon completion of investigation.

Senate Joint Resolutions

SJR 204 – Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to require Legislative Assembly each biennium to spend one-third of legislatively adopted budget on education and seven percent of legislatively adopted budget on public safety activities.

 

“Pitch a Project” tops membership meeting

At its first meeting of the year, the CCC membership discussed a proposal to  host a “Pitch a Project” event to invite new project ideas from the larger disability community, discussed Portland’s new parking plan for wheelchair and handicapped parking placards in the downtown meter district, and considered a sporting theme for this year’s  annual event.

IS099N8REA “Pitch a Project” idea, fashioned after the popular Shark Tank television program aired on ABC, was proposed by CCC co-chairs, Barb Dirk and Jan Campbell. That project would be two-fold.  It would involve an open invitation to the membership and the larger disability community to make project suggestions and then “pitch” them to the steering committee. The coalition would  work with the selected organization or individual on the project, which would also be recognized at the annual event.

John Murphy, CEO of PHCNW, compared the proposed project to the televised program Shark Tank. That program elicits entrepreneurial advice from six of the country’s most successful business people, which is applied to a selected business venture to enhance its success. Further information on this plan will be forthcoming and published on this website.

Portland’s proposed change to parking for handicapped and wheelchair placard holders in the meter district was presented by Joe Vander Veer, chair of the Portland Commission on Disability.  Nolan MacKrill, division manager of the city’s transportation bureau explained details of the proposal and answered questions from members about the legislation. He said the new parking plan would be evaluated during a probationary year. Further details about the parking resolution are on this website.  

Leadership Academy needs for additional class hours were presented by Linda Van Doran. Currently, the academy is held in two-hour classes each week for eight weeks. She proposed increasing the class time each week to three hours, which is more reflective of a college-level class, she said That proposal was met with mixed reactions. While it was agreed more class time was needed, some suggestions were to lengthen the program beyond the eight weeks rather than lengthen the class time. Discussion on this will continue at the next Leadership Academy planning meeting in February.

This year’s Annual Event, set for Tuesday, October 14, will feature a sporting “Tour of Champions” theme celebrating sports and persons with disability, utilizing a paralympic touring route like the “Million Dollar Challenge’s Hero’s Tour” and a keynote athlete who has overcome limitations of his/her disability through the use of adaptive sports equipment and positive motivation and perseverance.

At the event, awards would be presented Academy Award-style with a video and presentations to several organizations or inidivudals who have provided extraordinary support or services to persons with disabilities in the Portland metro area. 

An event steering committee is being organized which includes Victoria Kearns, Patricia Kepler, Lamar Wright, Randy Armstrong, Melody Chord and Nickole Cheron. Volunteers are needed. Please contact Victoria at vkearns@phcnw.com to volunteer. Persons with passion and salesmanship needed. 

Entrepreneurship crash-course set for Feb 7

All you would-be business people take note! A Start-Up Weekend Access crash course in entrepreneurship is set for Friday, February 7  through Sunday, February 9 in the Portland Development Commission, 222 NW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97209.

The Start-up Weekend is a 54-hour event where aspiring entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and entrepreneurs of all abilities come together to share start-up ideas, form teams, build products, and launch start-ups. It’s an opportunity for you to experience what it’s really like to build and launch a start-up.

Whether you have an idea for a new mobile app that will make your life easier or just want to learn more about entrepreneurship, a Start-Up Weekend Access may be the spark you need. Its  focus is on making entrepreneurship more accessible to everyone. Its mission is to create an environment where anyone can innovate together, focusing on accessibility to provide better access for people with disabilities and fluid collaboration among all participants. An appropriate accessible environment with the necessary auxiliary aids support services will be provided!

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding start-ups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over a thousand past events in 400+ countries around the world.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, WA, but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend-long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

Contact the Portland Start-Up Access team to register.

Lavaun Heaster leaving steering committee

Lavaun Heaster, who has served CCC as a steering committee member since its inception five years ago, is leaving behind her leadership role but maintaining her CCC membership. 

Her departure is to allow her to give more attention to her art business and her service to the persons with disabilities community as public outreach and awareness chair of the Portland Commission on Disability.

“At this point my focus will be developing my art business and building support for small business development with artists in the cross disability community,” she wrote to the coalition, and added a link for a short documentary about her business:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NJYt7wewi4&feature=youtube.

“I look forward to watching the growth and changes of The Connecting Communities Coalition in 2014,” she wrote.

Stay tuned for more of her story . . .  coming soon.

Disabled parking accessibility proposed

An increased need for parking for persons with disabilities in the city has prompted Portland’s Commission on Disability to recommend the City Council 

downloadmake changes and add spaces for current disabled parking in the meter district.  The proposal specifically calls for increasing the number of disabled parking spaces, eliminating free parking for them, and increasing the number of designated free parking spaces for those using wheelchairs.

The proposal, approved by the commission last Friday, will go before the City Council at 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19.  The new ordinance would extend the current ordinance to June 30, 2014, and the system would become effective on July 1.  

“The primary reason for the parking program is to have spaces available for people making short trips into the downtown area,” said Jan Campbell, co-chair of the Connecting Communities Coalition and board member of PHC Northwest. 

Portland’s current parking ordinance allows vehicles with disabled parking permits to park for free at meters for an unlimited time period. This has led to a shortage of disabled parking for the rising number of disabled parking permit users in the city.

“Unfortunately, disabled parking permits are being used for all-day parking. This limits the disabled parking availability for persons with wheelchairs who need to park close to where they shop,” said Sarah Schooley of the Department of Transportation, in a presentation about the new ordinance proposal at the commission’s planning meeting last Friday.

The proposal, introduced by Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, would require disabled parking permit holders to pay for street parking which would likely reduce the time they occupy the disabled parking spaces. Exceptions would include those with wheelchair permits and residents of subsidized housing or employees in the meter district with disabled parking permits.

Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick is calling for a distinction between disabled parking and parking for wheelchair users as a means to increase accessibility for wheelchair users.

“He saw the need for the change in current policy because of misuse and disuse of disabled parking permits,” Schooley said.

Due to an increase in the number of disabled parking permits which is driving an increased need for disabled parking spaces, the situation has become dire.  In 2007, there were 586 disabled parking permits in use.  As of September 2013 there are 1033 disabled parking permits in use. Of those 1033 parking permits, only 21 are specifically designated for wheelchair parking use exclusively. With the increased need for disabled parking spaces, limitations on their use is being called for.

The plan will provide 30 additional wheelchair only parking places for “on-street, right-side parking” without payment and without time limits. While the department expects the number of wheelchair parking permit users will increase, the city can easily increase the number in the future.

Disabled only parking will be increased by 50 spaces and will allow for up to three hours at meters with a time limit between one and three hours.  At a meter with a maximum time limit of three hours, a disabled parking permit user may pay ahead for the amount of time planned. The three-hour time limit would discourage all-day parking and allow for greater turnover and increased accessibility. Alternative ways of paying such as an in-vehicle meter or pay-by-(cell) phone applications will be available.

“We’re working with the commission on where those parking spaces should go,” Schooley said.

Employees with disabled parking permits who work within the meter district will be issued a “special on-street permit that allows for day-long, on-street parking.”

“We would issue a permit for a physical limitation within three blocks of the worksite,” Schooley said, noting pricing would be similar to off-street downtown garages.

These special permits would be available to those who “prove they work within the meter district, their employer doesn’t provide parking and they are unable to use Tri-Met or existing garages,” she said.

Also, disabled parking permit residents of the meter district who live in subsidized housing will be allowed free disabled parking at a specific residence.

“For a subsidized housing resident permit you would need to show paperwork proving you live in subsidized housing for a free one-year parking permit,”’ Schooley said.“We’re trying to discourage cars that never move.”

The new proposed parking for persons with disabilities most likely won’t raise any additional revenue for the city, but it will make parking easier and more available to persons with disabilities and especially wheelchair users.

Making a Difference

Mayor Charlie Hales presented Erik Ferguson and PHC Northwest each with the city’s “Making a Difference Award” for their outstanding achievements for persons with disabilities at the CCC’s annual event, “Leadership: Passion to Action,” in October.

Erik FergusonAs an outstanding artist, despite a severe disability, Ferguson was honored for his contribution of art and technical advising of adaptive equipment for people with disabilities. Ferguson has served on CCC committees in past years.

John Murphy, president and CEO of PHC Northwest, accepted the PHCNW’s award. The PHCNW was honored for “providing training and work for people with disabilities for more than 60 years and for its role as key creator of the CCC, sponsor of the annual event.”

Five years ago, under the leadership of Murphy and Therese McLain, PHCNW contracts and Communications director, PHCNW brought together several organizations and disability community leaders to start the CCC.

“While the organization has evolved over the years, PHC remains the primary fiscal partner providing staff support to the coalition,” Mayor Hales said, adding “Now in its fifth year, the event remains the largest cross disability gathering in Portland.”

The Standard also co-sponsor’s the annual event.


Leadership Academy 2013

You are absolutely awesome! YOU did it! Every single one of you made the magic happen! Your great leadership curriculum  planning, teaching and learning has paid off. Participants, speakers and planners are all to be congratulated for your hard work and great planning for the Leadership   Academy’s first year. Thanks to your outstanding work, the academy has received a $10,000 grant from the Robert D. and Marcia H. Randall Charitable Trust for next year.

Maybe it took a village, an energetic, visionary, synergistic team of city leaders, educational experts and many dedicated persons who put their passion in action to create an outstanding eight-week program, a program you all will always remember. You all deserve a huge round of applause!

As you immerse yourselves into your new leadership roles, you can take great pride in this achievement. You paved the way for future leaders who will come after you. Thank YOU!