Information, Response, and Planning

Updated: March 31, 2020

Disability Rights Oregon Can Help You if:

  • You have questions about your legal rights during an outbreak.
  • Are seeing information that is not accessible from other agencies.
  • Feel you are experiencing an extra layer of disability discrimination during this time.
  • Being denied healthcare because you are a person with a disability.

We can talk to you about your questions, determine how we can help, and get you the information that you need.

For assistance, please contact the Disability Rights Oregon confidential intake line at 503-243-2081 or 1-800-452-1694 between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  or 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Write Us a Letter

Write to us. Our address is:
Disability Rights Oregon
511 SW 10th Avenue, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97205

Know Your Legal Rights

Anti-Discrimination: Do my legal rights change?

Although the situation is changing quickly, you still have the right to live, work, and access your community free of discrimination. This means that information should be distributed, and that you have the right to request reasonable accommodations from various agencies.

Create a Household Plan of Action

Make sure to have an action plan. Now is a good time to reach out to your service providers and circles of support to start planning. If you already have a plan, review it to make sure it will still work.

Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 Center for Disease Control:

Things to Consider

  • Are you signed up for emergency warnings in your county? Do you know how to do that?
  • Do you know which phone numbers to call if you feel sick?
  • Have you identified people in the community who may provide you with support if you need it? Do you know their contact information?

Information from the Oregon Health Authority

Oregon is issuing regular updates on COVID-19. See the most recent update on the Oregon Health Authority’s News Release page

“On March 8, 2020, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency to address the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority(OHA) serves as the lead agency for the public health response. The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinates and supports state and local recovery efforts through the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC). ”

How can people protect themselves?

Every person has a role to play. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:

  • Washing hands with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.

What should you do if you think you’re sick?

Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For More Information and Resources

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has a list of resources. Additional information is below.

Federal Resources on COVID-19 Response

Cleaning and Disinfecting Information and Resources

Mental Health Information and Resources

Manage Anxiety & Stress

  • Toll-free crisis counseling and support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  Disaster Distress Line or call 1-800-985-5990.
  • If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Lifeline network is available 24/7 or call 1-800-273-8255

Helping Children Cope in an Emergency

Technical Assistance from the Federal Government

  • For disaster technical assistance inquiries for the Federal Government, visit SAMHSA’s Disaster website, call 1-800-308-3515, or email

Education Information and Resources

Right to Education for Children with Disabilities during COVID-19

School Closures in Oregon & Distance Learning Resources

Higher Education

Employment Information and Resources

Disability Employment Rights

Sick Leave or Family Leave

Getting Legal Advice

Small Employers

Protecting Workers During a Pandemic

Lost my Job or was Laid Off

Housing Information and Resources

Section 8 Housing Vouchers

Homelessness in Portland Metro

Utilities Information and Resources

Portland Water Bureau

  • The Portland Water Bureau is waving late fees and deferring payments or shut-offs.
  • The three largest utilities in Oregon – Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, and Northwest Natural have all announced a suspension of disconnects and/or late fees.
  • Check with your local utility company to see if they’re doing the same.

Energy Companies

Social Security Beneficiaries Information and Resources

Most Social Security Offices are closed to the public. Visit the the Social Security Administration website for updated information about services, contact information, and extended deadlines. 

Disability related articles on the issue:

Forbes: 5 Things to Know about Coronavirus and People with Disabilities (March 8, 2020)

USA Today: Stores Designate Shopping Time for Seniors, and Vulnerable Populations (March 18, 2020)

Willamette Week: Civil Rights Group Urges Gov. Kate Brown Not to Allow Discrimination Against COVID-19 Patients With Disabilities (March 27, 2020) Who Lives and Who Dies? If Overwhelmed, Oregon Hospitals Already Have a Guide (March 30, 2020)

Disability Rights Oregon’s Advocacy on COVID-19

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