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Disability NEWS for March 18, 2020

We urge all Portlanders to follow social distancing guidelines as stated by Governor Kate Brown. Read Governor Brown's March 16 press release on social distancing measures here. 

Read more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 Coronavirus at the CDC's website. There is more information at the CDC links below.

Please note: Many events and gatherings are being cancelled, often at the last minute, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. If you plan to attend any gathering, please be sure to confirm with the hosting organization that it is happening as scheduled.

Many of our NEWS Items in this issue are online opportunities. Let us continue to engage and care for each other, and remember to open your Census mailer!

To go to a specific section of the NEWS, click the category name

COVID-19 resources

This section offers disability-centered information and accessible resources about the COVID-19 Coronavirus 
  • Local Health Resources for COVID-19 Coronavirus

  • What is the City of Portland doing to respond?

  • ASL Videos on COVID-19 Coronavirus

  • NAMI releases COVID-19 guide and resources


  • Portland City Council sessions continue via teleconference: Public testimony accepted in writing

  • Share your thoughts in Metro Council's transportation survey by March 24

  • Disability Rights Oregon intake phone remains open. You can also take their survey to shape next year's priorities.


  • NAMI helpline is open while offices are closed. NAMI shifts to online programming

  • The 2020 Census is begins! 

  • Civics 101 postponed. Email or call to stay notified.


  • INCIGHT Scholarship applications open through April 1

  • ReelAbilities Film Festival seeking volunteers

  • Volunteer or receive visual assistance via smartphone with Be My Eyes


  • FAQs on the NEWS

COVID-19 Coronavirus Resources

Local Health Resources for COVID-19  Coronavirus

Multnomah County is the lead on public health in our community. Their website includes:

What is the City of Portland doing to respond? 

Mayor Ted Wheeler's website contains the most current information about the City's response. Here are some important measures Mayor Wheeler's office has announced in the past week:
  • Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Mayor Wheeler announced on Tuesday a freeze on residential evictions and the expansion of a shelter system to support people experiencing homelessness. Read about the eviction freeze and shelter expansion.
  • The City of Portland has placed hygiene stations throughout the community—portable toilets and handwashing stations—so that everyone has access to this critical health tool. You can find a map of the hygiene stations here as well as a complete list of hygiene station locations here.
  • During the State of Emergency, water service will not be disconnected for non-payment of sewer/stormwater/water bills.
  • The City will convene a COVID-19 Economic Impact Task Force to generate ideas for a stimulus package to help small and large businesses recoup losses from cancelled events and loss of business. 
  • The City is assisting shelter providers with keeping winter shelters open so they don't lose capacity as we work to give each person in a shelter more space and is providing motel vouchers for very vulnerable people.
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly's website has a blog post about the work her office is doing during this State of Emergency. You can read Commissioner Eudaly's blog here.

ASL Videos on COVID-19 available

CSD (Communication Service for the Deaf) has compiled videos in American Sign Language (ASL) on the COVID-19  Coronavirus and steps you can take to prevent it from spreading. Find ASL Videos on COVID-19 here.

NAMI releases COVID-19 guide and resources

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released an updated guide with Frequently Asked Questions and resources related to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. You can find the NAMI updated guide on COVID-19 Coronavirus here.

You can find the most up-to-date information on the NAMI COVID-19 website here.


Portland City Council sessions continue via teleconference: Public testimony accepted in writing

While City Hall is currently closed to the public, Council will continue its weekly Wednesday council sessions remotely via teleconference These meetings are available to the public on the City of Portland's YouTube Channel, eGov PDX, and Channel 30.

You can find Portland City Council agendas here. Please note, that currently public communications items are postponed and public testimony will be accepted in writing at

Share your thoughts in Metro Council's transportation survey by March 24

The Metro Council is working with the community to develop a potential 2020 transportation investment measure that could make it safer, easier and more affordable to get where you need to go.  We are asking community members with disabilities to share what you want these investments to look like in the places you live, work and travel.  Your input will help shape the programs proposed in the investment measure.

Please provide feedback through an online survey, which will be open through March 24.
Questions? Contact Patty Unfred or call 503-220-2451.

Disability Rights Oregon intake phone remains open. You can also take their survey to shape next year's priorities.

This is your chance to shape our goals and priorities for next year!

Fill out our 10-minute survey. Tell us how we’re doing and where we can be doing even more. 
We used your feedback from last year to create this year’s priorities. Our work lifting barriers has made it possible for thousands of Oregonians with disabilities to contribute to their workplaces, schools, and communities.

What’s the next big challenge you want us to take on?
You can access the survey here.
A survey link is also available on our website
The survey is available in Spanish: Encuesta de prioridades comunitarias de discapacidad de Disability Rights Oregon 2020.

If you need an alternate format to complete this survey, please contact us at (503) 243-2081 or 1 (800) 452-1694 or
Disability Rights Oregon's physical office is currently closed but their intake phone lines and staff phone lines will remain open during business hours. 

You can request help from DRO here.

The survey closes August 30. 


The 2020 Census begins!

You can expect a mailer soon from the U.S. Census Bureau urging you to complete the Census. Here are a few things to know about the Census: 

Confidentiality: The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. In fact, every Census employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.

How to Respond: There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census from the comfort of your own home: online, returning the paper questionnaire by mail, or calling in your answers. If you choose to respond by phone, the the U.S. Census Bureau has a phone line in English an 12 other languages. Find the phone number for your preferred language here>>

Questions Asked: You will answer a simple questionnaire about yourself and everyone who is living with you. The Census will never ask you for: your citizenship status, your social security number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party, or your bank or credit card numbers.

What Happens to Your Answers: Your personal information is kept confidential. Your responses are complied with information from others to produce statistics, which never identify your home or any person in your home.

Find out more about the Census and its impact on Oregon here.

NAMI helpline is open while offices are closed. NAMI shifts to online programming

We recognize that community resources are important, especially when so many social support systems are closed. With this in mind, our HelpLine will be available from 12:00 to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Call us at 503-228-5692.

The NAMI Crisis Text Line is Always Open
The NAMI Crisis Text Line is always open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply text NAMI to 741741.

Shifting from In-Person to Phone & Online Programs
Some of our supports and activities are cancelled until further notice, including the NAMI Multnomah Hike in March, and the Trail Blazers fundraiser in April. We are creating video and conference calling options for several support groups and some of our classes. If you are interested in participating, please call our HelpLine to provide your contact information. This information will be shared with the program leaders, so you can join in. To find details on a specific event, visit our online calendar here

Below, find links to information on previously scheduled NAMI classes. Be sure to call the helpline for the latest information and registration options. 

Registration is now open for NAMI classes for people to learn and get support on a variety of topics. All classes are taught by a peer with relevant lived experience.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer (African American & LGBTQIA+, Veteran groups available)
NAMI Family-to-Family
NAMI Homefront (for Veterans)
Registration is required for classes and only takes a few minutes. Please call the NAMI helpline at 503-228-5692 to register.

Civics 101 postponed. Email or call to stay notified

Do you want to learn about your city, county and regional government? Are you interested in getting more civically involved, but aren’t sure where to start? The upcoming 5-session Civics 101 training can help!

Civics 101 is sponsored by SAGE (Senior Advocates for Generational Equity) and taught by JoAnn Herrigel, former Deputy Director of Elders in Action. Participants in this free training series will learn about the structure and operation of city, county, and regional government, engage directly with elected officials, and learn to advocate for issues of concern. This year, Civics 101 will focus on the City of Milwaukie, the City of Portland, Clackamas County, and Metro Regional Government. The final session will be a hands-on advocacy training.

To be notified when this class is scheduled, contact JoAnn Herrigel at or 503-449-5039.


INCIGHT Scholarship applications open through April 1

Let INCIGHT Help You Unlock Your Potential! Since 2004, INCIGHT has awarded more than 900 scholarships to students with disabilities pursing higher education.
  • You must be a current Washington, Oregon or California resident
  • You must have a disability
  • You must be attending higher education during the funding cycle following your application. This include college, university, community college or vocational school. You may be pursuing any type and type of degree within these institutions
  • You must maintain full-time enrollment throughout the academic year
Find out more about the Incight scholarship and apply now. For questions, call 971-244-0305.

ReelAbilities Film Festival seeking volunteers

The third biannual ReelAbilities Film Festival is happening Spring 2020! Sponsored by Disability Art and Culture Project, this festival celebrates disabled stories and disabled creators. We are seeking volunteers in a variety of capacities. Email for more info.

Volunteer or receive visual assistance via smartphone through Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

You can download the app to access volunteers or volunteer at


FAQs on the NEWS

How often do issues come out?
The Disability NEWS is created and distributed twice monthly by the City of Portland’s Disability Program, part of the Office of Community & Civic Life. The NEWS, including back issues, is also available at this link.
How do I subscribe to the Disability NEWS?
To subscribe, please email
How do I submit an item to the NEWS?
Our NEWS comes directly from community and government organizations: newsletters, announcements, press releases, and more. To submit an item, please email Please keep submissions to a few (2-3) sentences and link to additional information. We may not feature every item we receive.
Please be sure the information you link to is accessible. For example, scanned fliers without image descriptions or social media posts without alt-text are not accessible. You can find more information and resources on creating accessible digital content here.
Events submitted may also be noted on the Disability Program Facebook page.
Where can I get more NEWS?
The Office of Community & Civic Life Disability Program Facebook Page features the latest postings of news, videos, events and issues of interest to people with disabilities.

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