RSA-227 for FY-2020: Submission #1109

Oregon
09/30/2020
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights Oregon
511 SW 10th Ave Ste 200
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Portland
Oregon
97205
http://www.droregon.org
5032432081
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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Additional Information
Matt Serres
Jamie Jones
5032432081
jjones@droregon.org
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
21
0
0
0
2
1
24
B. Training Activities
6
180
1) VR Team Training at Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB)
-Topics covered: Disability Rights Oregon’s Client Assistance Program (CAP) and advocacy on behalf of beneficiaries of Social Security.
-Purpose of the training: To educate vocational rehabilitation service providers about Disability Rights Oregon and its Client Assistance Program (CAP) and Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) programs.
-Description of the attendees: Social service providers and vocational rehabilitation counselors working with persons with blindness.

2) Cascadia Behavioral Health Peer Counseling Training
-Topics covered: DRO’s Employment and Integration Program, with strong emphasis on the Client Assistance Program (CAP).
-Purpose of the training: To educate peer counselors about DRO programs and services, particularly the Client Assistance Program (CAP).
-Description of the attendees: Peer counselors are individuals with lived experience who may assist DRO constituents or be constituents themselves. This is part of a 20 week peer support / peer wellness specialists training. It is approved by the Oregon Health Authority, and students who successfully complete it can apply for state certification as peer delivered services providers.

3) COVID-19 Supported Employment Provider Training with Oregon Supported Employment Center for Excellence (OSECE)
-Topics covered: COVID-19 related employment issues, including reasonable accommodation and family paid leave.
-Purpose of the training: To train supported employment providers on COVID-19 related employment issues such as reasonable accommodations and family and sick leave, so that they can better advise clients with respect to their worker rights.
-Description of the attendees: Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) providers who implement a model of supported employment for people with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar, depression).

4) Disability Services Advisory Council (DSAC) of Clackamas County Training
-Topics covered: CAP-related vocational rehabilitation issues.
-Purpose of the training: Training and education activity to inform members of the public with disabilities about individual rights regarding CAP-related vocational rehabilitation issues and PABSS-related employment issues.
-Description of the attendees: Multi-racial audience of people with disabilities receiving SSI/SSDI. Three attendees were Native American. At least three attendees were veterans. Several attendees lived in rural areas of Clackamas County. Most, if not all, were low-income.

5) National Disability Employment Awareness Month Activities (NDEAM)
-Topics covered: Integrated or supported employment, disability-related employment laws, and DRO's employment-related activities.
-Purpose of the training: To educate the public about integrated or supported employment, disability-related employment laws, and DRO's employment-related activities.
-Description of the attendees: General Public.

6) Reasonable Accommodations for Supported Individuals Podcast
-Topics covered: Legal information about reasonable accommodations for individuals in supported employment.
-Purpose of the training: The podcast helped increase community understanding of ADA Title I reasonable accommodations and other employment law protections. Self advocates, supported employment professionals, families, and others gained knowledge and skills about how to successfully request and maintain reasonable accommodations to further long-term employment success.
-Description of the attendees: self-advocates, supported employment professionals, families, and others.
C. Agency Outreach
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DRO’s in-person outreach was greatly reduced in FY2020. In addition, Vocational Rehabilitation offices were closed for a portion of the year until remote access to these services was set up by the state.

CAP-specific outreach and training events in FY2020 served both people and agencies who are racial minorities (specifically Native American), veterans, rural Oregonians, and low-income individuals.

DRO provides Spanish translations of CAP-specific Know Your Rights publications, including “Know Your Rights: Vocational Rehabilitation and Higher Education”, and other related publications including “Employment Handbook: Reasonable Accommodations” and “Family and Medical Leave FAQ.” In FY2020, Spanish translations of DRO’s other publications were provided upon request. DRO also provided appropriate interpretive and translation services in working with clients, constituents, and beneficiaries. In our public communications, DRO presents positive narratives about people with disabilities who have another diverse identity.

Employment of People with Disabilities within Urban Redevelopment Projects: People of color, women, and persons with disabilities have historically been excluded from the economic opportunities that arise out of urban redevelopment projects. We will provide guidance to policymakers with respect to disability workforce equity on the Broadway Corridor redevelopment project. As the largest redevelopment project in Oregon, the Broadway Corridor has the potential to create pathways out of poverty and to remedy past exclusions of people of color, women, and persons with disabilities. DRO will partner with organizations representing and serving communities of color and low-income individuals to educate those communities about disability employment laws and the importance of creating employment for VR-eligible people.
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
28
0
2
1
1
1
-Website hits (unique pageviews): 125,321
-Facebook page: 9,654 likes 10,250 followers
-Twitter: 4,303 followers
-Email database (listserv): 1,857 subscribers
-Instagram: 903 followers
-LinkedIn: 238 followers
-Videos: Produced 1 video featuring client story, and collaborated with community stakeholders on 1 e-scooter safety video to raise awareness of importance of sidewalk access for people with disabilities
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Media Coverage Secured
Garnered 117 mentions of DRO in print, radio, or t.v. news stories
Secured positive mentions of DRO work in 1 newspaper editorial
Published 3 letters to the editor of newspapers by staff members
Placed 5 op-eds in statewide outlet by a staff member or Board member
News Articles (70)
1. Murmurs: Broadway Corridor Advances (Willamette Week, September 30, 2020)
2. Portland City Council approves agreements to move ambitious Broadway Corridor redevelopment project forward (The Oregonian, September 24, 2020)
3. Oregon Scraps Crisis Care Guidelines for Health Care Providers (Lund Report, September 23, 2020)
4. Portland Pays $975,000 Settlement to Family of Man Slain by Police (Portland Mercury), September 9, 2020)
5. Inmate files $975k lawsuit against Oregon prison over staph infection, colostomy (Statesman Journal, September 8, 2020)
6. Masks slow coronavirus spread, but make communication harder for some people (OPB News, July 31, 2020)
7. Conservative Group Suing Gov. Brown Over Mask Mandate (The Corvallis Advocate, July 24, 2020)
8. Mask opponents sue to invalidate Gov. Kate Brown’s statewide mask requirement (The Oregonian, July 24, 2020)
9. ODOT plans Highway 395 projects (Hermiston Herald, July 14, 2020)
10. Children’s Mental Health Program Swept Up In Looming Budget Cuts (Lund Report, July 14, 2020)
11. Bill allows disabled patients to have an advocate (Catholic Sentinel, July 10, 2020)
12. What Was Accomplished During Oregon's Whirlwind Special Legislative Session? (Portland Mercury, July 3, 2020)
13. Portland City Council approves 1-year extension of police union contract (The Oregonian, July 1, 2020)
14. After rising discrimination, lawmakers tackle bill to protect the medical rights of people with disabilities (Lund Report, June 25, 2020)
15. Legacy health will no longer arrest non-violent trespassers (Legacy’s Campus Safety publications, June 25, 2020)
16. Audit: Oregon students with disabilities don't get consistent support (Statesman Journal, June 24, 2020)
17. State audit finds many Oregon students with disabilities don't receive adequate support
18. (Bend Bulletin, June 24, 2020), picked up by the Associated Press, published in The Oregonian Audit: Disabled students in Oregon lack enough funding, San Francisco Chronicle, Oregon Capital Insider
19. Legacy Health suspends practice of handcuffing, arresting non-violent patients for trespass after complaints about Black woman detained (The Oregonian, June 22, 2020), picked up by the Associated Press, but no DRO mention there.
20. 2 men from group homes for people with disabilities dead from coronavirus as advocates point to problems (The Oregonian, June 18, 2020)
21. Access denied: Oregonians with disabilities face extra challenges meeting care needs during pandemic (The Oregonian, June 15, 2020)
22. Advocate Blasts Oregon Health Authority Over Leadership During Pandemic (Lund Report, June 1, 2020)
23. Few homeless people have coronavirus. Portland still plans to resume clearing camps. (The Oregonian, May 31, 2020)
24. Column: It pays to be curious, Scott Carrol (Roseburg News-Review, May 21, 2020)
25. Oregon advocacy group condemns city’s emergency loitering prohibition, saying it had the practical effect of “sit lie” (Salem Reporter, May 20, 2020)
26. Advocacy group: Salem violated Constitution, pushed homeless out using COVID-19 excuse (Statesman Journal, May 20, 2020)
27. A squeeze on jail space (Roseburg News-Review, May 18, 2020)
28. For Mentally Ill Defendants, Coronavirus Means Few Safe Options (The Marshall Project, May 15, 2020), picked up by The Oregonian, May 23, 2020
29. Oregon health care policy invites discrimination, civil rights groups allege (Street Roots, May 15, 2020)
30. Proposed Oregon Health Authority cuts run wide and deep (Lund Report, May 13, 2020)
31. In civil rights complaint, Oregon groups contend state policy could bring widespread discrimination amid Covid-19 (Portland Business Journal, May 8, 2020)
32. Federal judge asks about coronavirus testing for all Oregon State Hospital patients to speed up admissions (The Oregonian, May 6, 2020)
33. Marion, Polk county jails slash inmate populations by 30 to 75% in response to COVID-19 (Statesman Journal, May 3, 2020)
34. Polk County Jail has reduced its jail population by the largest percentage statewide (Salem Reporter, April 30, 2020)
35. Oregon reduces jail populations due to COVID-19 (Tillamook Headlight Herald, April 30, 2020)
36. As Oregon State Hospital limits admissions during pandemic, mental health advocates press for a different solution (The Oregonian, April 30, 2020)
37. Oregon jail population decreases in response to pandemic (Pamplin Media, April 30, 2020)
38. Oregon County jails have cut inmate populations in half during the pandemic, new data show: Multnomah County’s jail population decreased by 30% (Willamette Week, April 29, 2020)
39. Coronavirus prompts Oregon State Hospital to restrict admissions; mentally ill defendants left waiting in jails (The Oregonian, April 9, 2020)
40. Five Candidates Run for Rare Open Bench on Multnomah County Circuit Court (The Skanner, April 9, 2020)
41. Disability Rights Group Demand Gov. Brown Prevent COVID-19 Healthcare Discrimination (Corvallis Advocate, March 31, 2020)
42. Civil Rights Group Urges Gov. Kate Brown Not to Allow Discrimination Against COVID-19 Patients with Disabilities (Willamette Week, March 27, 2020)
43. Putting the Emphasis on Conduct, pdf (Oregon State Bar Bulletin, February/March 2020), Weblink: https://www.osbar.org/bulletin/issues/2020/2020FebruaryMarch/index.html
44. Oregon courts, jails respond to coronavirus: Washington County jail to release 60 inmates; court hearings see widespread delays (The Oregonian, March 16, 2020), picked up by Pamplin Media
45. “Your Rights Get Parked At The Door”: Life In Prison With A Disability: Abuse of disabled people is rampant in our prison systems. Here's some of their stories. (Folks, A Pillpack Magazine, March 23, 2020)
46. Oregon nursing homes, regulators hope to avert Kirkland-style coronavirus disaster (The Oregonian, March 10, 2020)
47. Historical preservation is a balancing act (La Grande Observer, March 10, 2020)
48. What Oregon can learn from other states about foster care reform (Street Roots, February 21, 2020)
49. Our homeless neighbors need more than affordable housing; they need support (Street Roots, February 7, 2020)
50. Oregon foster teen sent to Utah facility speaks to Oregon lawmakers (AP, based on OPB News report, February 6, 2020), picked up by Statesman Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Salt Lake Tribune , the Spectrum (part of USA Today network)
51. Inmate's death shines spotlight on prison medical treatment (Oregon Capital Insider, January 29, 2020)
52. Grand Jury Rules Officer Who Fatally Shot Koben Henriksen Acted in Self-Defense (Portland Mercury, January 27, 2020)
53. Michael Barton died after getting sick in prison. A lawsuit says prison staff ignored his cries for help (Salem Reporter, January 29), picked up by East Oregonian
54. Family of man who died of flu at Salem prison sues for $15 million, allege cover-up (Statesman Journal, January 29), picked up by AP, The Oregonian, KOIN News, San Francisco Chronicle, Register-Guard, Medford Mail Tribune, KDRV-News,
55. Justice Department finds Portland police in ‘substantial compliance’ with required reforms (Oregonian, January 24, 2020)
Hall Monitor: The Blame Game (Portland Mercury, December 18, 2019)
State Hospital temporarily halts civil commitments (Pamplin Media, December 16, 2019), picked up by AP, U.S. News and World Report, East Oregonian, Mail Tribune, Statesman Journal, Herald and News, LaGrand Observer, Wichita Eagle, Newberg Graphic
56. City leaders respond to latest deadly police shooting (Portland Mercury, December 16, 2019)
57. State needs more resources for local mental health treatment (Pamplin Media, December 9, 2019), picked up by East Oregonian, Malheur Enterprise, Blue Mountain Eagle, Daily Astorian,
58. When mental illness becomes a jail sentence (The Atlantic, December 9, 2019)
59. Portland police find discharged patient, handcuffed and shivering, outside Unity psychiatric hospital (The Oregonian, December , 2019)
60. “Will Social Security be there for my grandchildren?” (Portland Tribune, December 6, 2019)
61. City suppresses e-scooter dangers (Northwest Examiner, December 2019 issue) PDF only
62. Hundreds with serious mental illness not getting services, Multnomah County audit finds (Street Roots, November 29, 2019)
63. Lime teams with disability groups, Portland to raise awareness of risks of scooting on sidewalks (The Oregonian, December 3, 2019)
64. Salem City Council Approves Sidewalk Conduct Ordinance without Sit-Lie Ordinance (Salem Reporter, November 25, 2019)
65. Oregon paramedics get defensive training in wake of attacks (AP Oregon, November 11, 2019), picked up by The Washington Post, OPB News, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
66. Sheriffs support Sen. Merkley bill to retain pre-trial inmate health benefits (Herald & News, October 27, 2019)
67. Oregon sheriffs back federal bill to restore inmate medical benefits while in jail (Statesman Journal, October 24, 2019)
68. No one will say where some immigrant teens are taken by ICE (CNN online, October 24, 2019)
69. Bill would lower medical costs for Jackson County jail (Mail Tribune, October 18, 2019)
70. Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail (The Skanner, October 17, 2019)
Digital (1)
1. America’s Psychiatric Facilities are Incubators for COVID-19 (Mad in America, April 19, 2020)
Stories DRO pitched that don’t mention DRO (2)
1. Federal government asked to tell hospitals modify visit bans (NPR, May 17, 2020), picked up by WAMU 88.5 FM, Michigan Radio *mentions DRO client
2. Oregon woman helps those with invisible disabilities train service dogs (KGW News, February 25, 2020)
Mentions of DRO by Others (2)
1. People with disabilities want same peaceful dying option as anyone else (The Gilmer Mirror, July 24, 2020)
2. Aid-in-dying empowers patients to make decision (Albany Times-Union, April 10, 2020
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
30
6
36
36
11
B. Problem areas
2
8
17
3
0
7
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
1
4
15
4
0
2
26
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
19
4
0
1
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
{Empty}
E. Results achieved for individuals
0
0
0
1
11
5
2
0
0
7
1) Services reestablished following suspension.
2) Hearing officer issued unfavorable ruling and IPE was not amended and educational goal was not funded by VR.
3) VR reversed denial of vehicle modification services.
4) Negotiation attempted to reach agreement with respect to IPE development/implementation. No agreement reached.
5) Case lacked legal merit.
6) Decision to deny coverage of expenses reversed through settlement agreement.
7) VR and CAP lost contact with client.
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
2
13
18
2
36
B. Gender
20
16
36
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
1
1
0
11
2
20
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
0
1
0
1
1
5
0
2
1
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
11
0
0
0
2
3
0
0
1
1
0
1
0
2
36
E. Types of Individuals Served
5
0
32
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
1) The Client Assistance Program (CAP) sent an advocacy letter in April of 2020 to the Director of Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) demanding that VR resume its intake and orientation services. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, VR suspended all intake services beginning in mid-March of 2020. We also recommended that VR approve the use of electronic signatures during the application process and consider newly emerging client needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to CAP advocacy, VR resumed virtual intake and orientation beginning on May 1, 2020. VR has also created a new policy that allows VR counselors to process electronic signatures using Adobe Sign for documents requiring signatures. CAP meets regularly with VR management to share information on the delivery of services during the pandemic. Persons with disabilities benefited from CAP advocacy by experiencing only a minimal interruption of VR intake and orientation services in the spring. The policy with respect to electronic signatures benefits persons with disabilities receiving VR services by ensuring more timely and safe delivery of services, by reducing the delays associated with signature gathering via regular mail and reducing unnecessary in-person contact given the pandemic. VR participants benefit from CAP’s regular contact with VR management to identify emerging pandemic-related needs.

2) CAP also reviewed and offered revisions to the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services “Interim Policy on Clients Who Are a High Risk: Placement and Employment During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” As a result of CAP comments, VR narrowed the definition of a client who is at “high risk” to better comport with CDC guidelines that identify “certain” underlying or comorbid medical conditions, as identified by the CDC. At CAP’s request, VR also added language to make it clear that, if a client wishes to assume certain health risks, that decision is their choice, and that the VR participant helps to determine who participates in risk management planning. VR also added to the policy that, if VR counselors deny services based on a VR participant’s perceived health risks, it may constitute discrimination based on disability. Finally, VR changed the policy to include a specific sunset clause that causes the policy to expire on December 31, 2020, unless the VR Director determines that it should be extended. All of those changes are the direct result of CAP advocacy. The revisions that VR adopted as a result of CAP comments benefited persons with disabilities by clarifying to whom the policy applies, because only certain individuals with underlying or comorbid medical conditions that the CDC recognizes as being at higher risk due to the pandemic fall within the policy, as opposed to individuals with any underlying or comorbid medical condition. Persons with disabilities also benefited from CAP’s recommendations, because VR increased its commitment to respecting client’s right to self-determination in assuming the risk of community employment and deciding who participates in their risk management planning. Individuals with disabilities are also less likely to be denied VR services based on a false perception that those services will put them at risk of contracting the pandemic or that the participant should not be permitted to assume that risk. Finally, persons with disabilities will benefit from the fact that the VR Director must review the policy periodically to determine whether it is still necessary in light of the evolving nature of the public health emergency.

3) CAP reviewed the State Independent Living Council (SILC) State Plan for 2021-2023 and offered comments in order to improve the plan. As a result of CAP comments, SILC included better language around outreach to un-served areas. Specifically, language was added that required the network of CILS to engage in outreach to provide specific services in un-served areas, through contracts/fee-for-service agreements as they are developed. As a result of CAP’s recommendation, persons with disabilities in un-served areas in rural Oregon counties that current centers for independent living do not reach are more likely to receive independent living services through contracts and fee-for-service agreements with other providers during the period covered by the State Plan.
B. Litigation
0
0
0
n/a
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights Oregon
No
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B. Staff Employed
During FY2020, there were a total of 18 positions that supported the CAP program. No position is funded 100% by CAP. Professional and administrative staff total .7 FTE, which includes .48 FTE full-time total professional staff, .04 FTE part-time total professional staff, and .18 FTE full-time total administrative staff. The administrative staff includes the Administrative Assistant who fields phone calls from CAP clients and schedules intake meetings. No positions were vacant during FY2020.

Professional:
Person-years: 14
Full-time: 48%
Part-time: 4%
Vacant: 0

Administrative:
Person-years: 4
Full-time: 18%
Part-time: 0
Vacant: 0
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1) Constituent, whose primary disability is mental illness, contacted the Client Assistance Program (CAP), because Vocational Rehabilitation would not help him achieve his desired employment outcome of becoming a licensed barber. He had been a barber in the past in Washington state; however, he could not practice anymore because he did not meet Oregon’s licensure requirements. He also did not have the necessary tools of the trade that many barbering shops require barbers to provide themselves. CAP intervened on constituent’s behalf and took steps to advocate for services to assist constituent toward his goal of barbering. We successfully advocated for VR to pay for constituent’s barbering licensure and to pay for two months of rent for a barbering space. VR also agreed to purchase a number of tools of the trade in order to facilitate the constituent’s search for a barbering job. Constituent obtained his licensure with VR support. Upon being transferred to a new counselor, CAP followed up with the branch manager to ensure that VR remained committed to assisting the constituent in achieving his desired employment outcome, and VR confirmed that it remained committed to his barbering goal and to paying for the first two months of his rent of a barbering space.

2) An individual with Spina Bifida contacted CAP, because VR refused to cover the costs of a modified vehicle replacement, which was necessary for the constituent to continue work as a freelance ASL interpreter. CAP intervened on constituent’s behalf to argue that constituent should receive support from VR for the replacement modified vehicle. We requested a pre-hearing conference. Prior to the conference, VR reversed the earlier denial and agreed to purchase a new vehicle for the constituent. We also assisted the branch manager with the procurement and modification process.

3) A VR participant with a neurological impairment needed a service animal in order to overcome employment-related barriers that would allow her to maintain her employment. Her previous VR counselor had been working on a proposal to get VR assistance to pay for a dog and an assistance animal training program. After being assigned to a new VR counselor, the new counselor indicated that VR does not help with service dogs and her VR file was subsequently closed with no support provided to obtain the service animal. CAP intervened on constituent’s behalf and successfully advocated for VR to re-open the file. We facilitated an agreement to assist her in obtaining the dog, as well as to provide for the cost associated with training. Constituent obtained a service dog and participated in the service animal training program. VR eventually closed the file, after she had successfully maintained her employment for a significant period.
Certification
Approved
Jake Cornett
Executive Director
2020-12-01
OMB Notice

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