Portland officials are asking for help figuring out where to start fixing city parks and buildings that don't give access to people with disabilities.
WW reported Wednesday that the city has identified 25,829 places on city property that don't meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
We toured five locations with advocate Ian Ruder, who pointed out where he had trouble getting his wheelchair to dining areas and basketball courts. But he noted that many of the projects the city calls top priorities aren't keeping many people from getting where they need to go.
The Office of Equity and Human Rights is asking for more feedback. It's hosting an open house at the Portland Building next Tuesday to seek public comment on its choices.
Deciding what projects are most important will be a key step in what's known as the ADA Title II Transition Plan—the city's effort to avoid lawsuits over its lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The prioritization is crucial because most city bureaus will need to find funding in their own budgets, a process city documents say could take more than 16 years.
“They know it’s going to cost a lot,” says Suzanne Stahl, who serves on the Portland Commission on Disabilities. “That right there is the $10 million question. It’s one thing to figure out what needs to be fixed. It’s another thing to fix them.”
The open house will be held at 12:30 pm Tuesday, Aug. 26 in Room C on the second floor of the Portland Building. It's a building with plenty of work still needed: City documents say it has 1,016 barriers to disabled access, which could cost $1.3 million to fix.
Here's one of those barriers.