People With Disabilities Sue Over Blocked Sidewalks in Oregon

A group of Portland, Oregon, residents with disabilities has filed a lawsuit against the city, accusing it of failing to keep public sidewalks accessible.

The class action lawsuit filed this week in federal court accuses the city of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing people to camp on city sidewalks, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, known as the ADA, prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires accessible sidewalks. The suit names 10 plaintiffs, most of whom use a wheelchair, cane or walkers and say they have to go out of their way to navigate around tents.

In a news conference Wednesday near City Hall, some of the plaintiffs talked about the difficulties they’ve encountered navigating Portland streets in recent years as tents have gone up to shelter people experiencing homelessness.

Steve Jackson, a 47-year-old man who is blind, said he often accidentally steps on people. Barbara Jacobsen, a 62-year-old who uses an electric wheelchair, said she frequently has to go into the street with traffic to avoid the tents.

“The city has abandoned us and the homeless,” said Jacobsen.

A city spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit. The city does not usually comment on ongoing litigation.

Plaintiffs want a judge to order the city to clear sidewalks of tents and provide emergency shelters for everyone displaced as a result. The lawsuit also asks a judge to include all Portland residents with mobility disabilities and their caretakers as plaintiffs.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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