Goals & Priorities for 2018

Mission: To promote and defend the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Vision: Disability Rights Oregon 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’s Work: Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) is a non-profit law office that provides advocacy and legal services to people with disabilities who have an issue related to their disability and that falls within our goals and priorities. Each year DRO sets its goals and priorities, with help from the disability community, to guide the work we do and to further our mission and vision.

Case Acceptance Guidelines:
  • To enforce or change the law to further our mission, DRO selects cases and issues that will help improve access and services for the disability communities we serve and that will help the most people
  • DRO’s focus for individual advocacy will be on providing callers with information and materials about their rights to help them advocate for themselves
  • Representation on Individual cases will be limited to available resources
Emphasis is placed on:
  • Legal issues that fall within the issue areas and priorities set out below
  • Cases that will make positive changes for the community
  • Cases where a person is at risk of long-term harm
  • Services to minority, rural, and other underserved communities
  • Information and materials for self-advocacy
  • Cases that do not have a reasonable likelihood of success based on the facts and the law
  • Cases where DRO staff members do not have the expertise and staff to provide representation
  • DRO does not provide representation in criminal cases
  • DRO does not provide help with family law matters

NOTE: The order of DRO’s Issue Areas and Priorities listed below does not indicate their importance – we consider them to have equal importance.

FY2018 Issue Areas and Priorities

Community Living & Accessibility

  • Facilitate effective discharge & release planning from Oregon State Hospital (OSH), prisons, jails, Stabilization and Crisis Units (SACUs), and private hospitals to prevent re-institutionalization
  • Decriminalize mental illness through pre-arrest or pre-booking diversion, reforming Oregon’s Aid + Assist process, and promoting effective training for law enforcement
  • Promote community-based supports, healthcare, housing, crisis response (vs. hospitals, institutions, and jails)
  • Protect due process rights when there is risk of Medicaid-funded long-term service cuts
  • Promote accessibility of sidewalks, crosswalk improvements, and public transit
  • Enforce ADA requirements for effective communication for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Community in jails, hospitals, public entertainment events, and governmental services
  • Enforce reasonable accommodation in the workplace (Title I ADA) and applying Olmstead and Lane to employment settings
  • Promote full participation in the electoral process for individuals with disabilities

Beneficiaries of Social Security

  • Advance and retain employment for Social Security recipients through individual workplace reasonable accommodation advocacy
  • Advice and representation in Social Security Overpayment Cases where overpayment is due to earned income and presents a barrier to further employment or self-employment
  • Advance employment, financial stability, and independence by offering work incentives planning and assistance (WIPA) to SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries residing in Oregon and Southern Washington State who are employed or seriously considering work

Client Assistance Program (CAP) for Vocational Rehabilitation Recipients or Applicants

  • Advise and inform clients, client applicants, and other individuals with disabilities of all the available services and benefits under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and of the services and benefits available to them under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Protect Core Civil Rights in Institutions

  • End isolation of people with serious mental illness in institutional settings
  • Prevent discrimination in institutions, focusing on intersectionality for individuals experiencing disability and other marginalized identities
  • Prevent abuse and neglect, seclusion and restraint, and inappropriate use of forced medications
  • Enforce ADA compliance within institutions
  • Promote trauma-informed healthcare within institutions


  • Prevent the use of shortened school day and inadequate behavior supports
  • Prevent seclusion and restraint in K-12 education settings
  • Enforce Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) obligation to properly operate a comprehensive system that makes appropriate education available to all children
  • Support parents in accessing IEP documents in their native language

Freedom from Abuse & Neglect

  • Investigate allegations of abuse and neglect with probable cause when not adequately addressed by state and local authorities


  • Monitor non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) to prevent transportation barrier to accessing medical care
  • Prevent use of law-enforcement tactics on patients in clinical settings
  • Promote access to healthcare services for individuals experiencing multiple disabilities
  • Monitor Oregon Administrative Rules relating to provision or exclusion of assistive technology compliance with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules


  • Intervene when a respondent or protected person’s civil rights are being violated due to guardianship, including abuse or neglect
  • Provide education, training, and assistance to promote participation in the electoral process