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Accessibility Tips

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On this page

Please know that these tips aren't everything you need to know about access or creating inclusive spaces; it’s a starting place for deeper learning, conversations, and actions. Feel free to reach out and ask questions or start an access and disability justice conversation with our program at any time!

Where to Begin: Creating Access For All

Here we talk about why we should begin our endeavors with access and how to get started. Follow this link to read about how to begin to create access for all.

Request an Accommodation or Contact an ADA Coordinator

Request an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for any City of Portland program, service, event, or activity. To ensure the best response, please make your request at least five business days before the program or event, if possible.

American Sign Language Interpreters

We explore how to choose and schedule an interpreter in response to a disability accommodation request and proactively for an event. While this tip focuses on American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, many of the tips also apply to other cultural and language interpreters. Follow this link to read more about ASL interpreters.

How to Make an ADA or Discrimination Complaint

There are different places to  make an official complaint if you've experienced discrimination. Read on to find out how to take action on issues with local businesses, employment, and more. Read about how to make an ADA or discrimination complaint here.

Disability Rights Part 1: Learn More about the American with Disabilities Act  (ADA)

This article reviews general ideas around disability rights laws and learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Follow this link to read more about the ADA.

Disability Rights Part 2: What to Do

Let's explore what we can do when broken technology, rigid policies, missing ramps, and other forms of societal ableism hollow out the intention of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and prevent us from living a full, spontaneous life. Follow this link to read more about disability rights.

Disability Rights Part 3: More Laws!

Learn about more laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities. Follow this link to read more about disability rights

Filing an ADA Title II Complaint

Any person who believes they have received unequal treatment or discrimination on the grounds of disability can file a complaint with the responsible City Bureau or with the City of Portland’s ADA Title II & Equity Manager. Follow this link to read about how to file an ADA Title II complaint.

Demystifying Disability Language

We know that words matter. Words can convey respect and a desire to connect or dismiss someone’s perspective or very humanity. We use our words to build each other up and tear each other down. So, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of people asking, “What’s the right thing to say?” when it comes to disability. Follow this link to read more about demystifying disability language

Checklists for Creating Accessible Documents and Content

A host of resources to share with your colleagues (or hang on your office wall) about how to create more accessible documents and digital content. Find checklist for creating accessible documents and content here.

Accessible Parking

In this tip, you’ll learn why accessible parking has certain features, who gets to use accessible parking, and how YOU can support accessible parking wherever you are. Read more about accessible parking.

Ways of Thinking About Disability

Explore different ways of thinking about disability and the connections between our understanding of disability and livable, thriving communities. Read more about different ways to think about disability.

Finding a Good Resource

Disability resources are everywhere but how do we know if we have found a "good" resource? Here we provide things to consider when seeking and sharing information about disability experience, accessibility, and culture. Read more about how to find a good resource.

Like the Mic

Using a microphone at your meetings and events not only supports people who are hard of hearing, it increases understanding and retention for everyone by making the meeting content easier to take in. Read more about why using a microphone at meetings creates accessibility.

Find a Synonym

This tip offers a small way to be part of the movement around eliminating ableist language and creating conversations that are respectful to all. Read more about how to eliminate ableist language.

Addressing Mental Health

It’s a common misconception to think of “disability issues” as access issues experienced by people with visible and mobility disabilities. But when we define disability through this narrow lens, we miss opportunities to increase access for people with mental health, cognitive, and learning disabilities. Read more about addressing mental health.

Creating Digital Access

Find tools, processes, and ways to make digital information accessible to more people. Find more digital access tool here.

What is a Screen Reader?

Screen readers can be useful for people who cannot access printed text or a standard (icon based) computer screen because of visual or learning disabilities. Read more about screen readers here.

Image Descriptions

Adding an image description to your documents can enhance access to your information. Read more about image descriptions.

Voice Control Technology

While many of us might be familiar with the convenience simple voice control commands can provide, it is also important to know that voice control for a computer, home, and other features are essential elements of access for many people with disabilities. Read more about voice control technology.

Audio Description

Find out why audio descriptions are essential for creating accessible content and how to weave it into your personal and professional life. Read more about audio descriptions.

Plain Language

 Learn what “plain language” is and why it’s important. We also explore resources for writing plain language. Read more about plain language.

Service Animals

The real deal on service and emotional support animals, including what they do, protections for handlers, and businesses. Read more about service animals.

Fragrance Free Spaces

This tip provides tips and tricks for being fragrance free, and debunks some harmful myths about this essential part of access for all. Read more about fragrance free spaces.

Accommodation Requests

How do I gather accommodation requests from community members for events? And once someone makes a request, what do I do? Read more about responding to accommodations here.

Employment Accommodations

This tip is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg on the incredibly complex social, cultural, political, and legal issues surrounding employment accommodations. Read more about employment accommodations.

Accessible Restrooms

An accessible restroom is essential to hosting an accessible community event, meeting, or training. Read more about accessible restrooms

Access in the Office

In this tip we share practices for staff and guest accessibility around the office. Read more about how to create access in the office.

Accessible Travel in Portland and Beyond

Explore travel here and abroad, featuring a “do this, not that” for people with AND without disabilities, and travel resources for car, bus, train, and plane trips. Read more about accessible travel in Portland and beyond.

Accessible Recreation

We share tips for accessible outdoor events and explore local recreation opportunities. Read more about accessible recreation.

These Accessibility Tips first appeared as Access Tip of the Month, a series emailed to all staff from 2017-2019. They were written by Joanne Johnson, then Disability Program Coordinator at the Office of Community and Civic Life. They are currently being updated by the Office of Equity and Human Rights.