DRO wins award for accessible transportation advocacy

Oregon Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group, has chosen Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) as a recipient of a 2016 Weston Award as a result of our advocacy for safer streets and accessible sidewalks. The Weston Awards celebrate individuals and organizations that make communities more livable and more walkable.

Please join Oregon Walks, Disability Rights Oregon staff, and advocates for safe, accessible streets at the Weston Awards on Friday, December 2, from 6-9 p.m.

The 6th Annual Weston Awards
Friday, December 2nd
The Treasury Ballroom: 326 SW Broadway, Portland, OR  97205

Read more about why Oregon Walks chose Disability Rights Oregon as an award recipient:

2016 Weston Award Winner #2:
Disability Rights Oregon

Photo: Tom Stenson, Kathy Wilde, and Bob Joondeph work together in an office

Staff attorney Tom Stenson, litigation director Kathy Wilde, and executive director Bob Joondeph

During a week of extraordinary upheaval and fear, we are faced with a world which feels exclusionary towards many, many people. In light of that reality, we are excited to share with you our next Weston winner, a group whose work is so critical, so instrumental, in making our communities more just and inclusive for all. We are honored to announce Disability Rights Oregon as a Weston Award winner today and encourage you to join us in celebrating the incredible work they have accomplished.

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) has a vision of a society in which persons with disabilities have equality of opportunity, full participation and the ability to exercise meaningful choice. DRO accomplishes this through its goals and priorities, set annually with input from the disability community. DRO’s priorities include providing full access to community participation and removing significant access barriers in public places, with an emphasis on transportation.

In the 39 years since its founding, DRO has worked to improve access for people with disabilities walking and rolling in cities across Oregon, particularly successfully after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.  In the early 2000s, DRO advocated to ensure that the Eastbank Esplanade and Portland Streetcar—now crown jewels in Portland’s multimodal transportation system–would be accessible to pedestrians who have disabilities or use wheelchairs. In 2013, DRO successfully advocated with community partners to ensure that state building code provided accessibility guidelines for clustered mailboxes, which serve single family homes in new housing developments, so that suburban residents can reach their mailbox as a pedestrian. In 2009, DRO was able to negotiate with the City of Salem to fix inaccessible sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb ramps that prevented people from visiting the library, healthcare providers, the bus mall, and other central businesses and services.

Photo: Grace Eagle Reed and Ted Wenk in a radio studio with a microphone

Staff attorney Ted Wenk is interviewed by Grace Eagle Reed about accessible transportation

Most recently, DRO and the Association of Oregon Centers for Independent Living (AOCIL), along with eight individuals from throughout the state, filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Transportation over inaccessible sidewalks, curb ramps, and pedestrian signals on ODOT-managed highways.

DRO, AOCIL, and ODOT have recently announced a proposed Settlement Agreement which will get work started quickly to bring more than 10,000 curb ramps and pedestrian signals into compliance with current federal law.

The proposed Agreement also gives advocates for safer streets a tool with which to report unsafe curb ramps and request audible signals. We are lucky to have DRO advocating for more accessible and safe streets for everyone.

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