Lawsuit: ODOT isn’t doing enough for disabled

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The group Disability Rights Oregon is suing the Oregon Department of Transportation. The group says the agency isn’t doing enough to keep sidewalks and ramps safe for people in wheelchairs.

The group isn’t asking for money in the lawsuit, instead it wants ODOT to speed up the repair and installation of curb ramps.

“What our lawsuit is asking is for the court to declare that ODOT has been out of compliance with federal law since 1992,” says Bob Joondeph, the Executive Director of Disability Rights Oregon.

Joondeph claims, in a 2011 ODOT audit, more than 75% of needed curb ramps in Oregon were missing or in poor condition. A spokesman for ODOT says they disagree on the timing, but the goal is the same. Tom Fuller says ODOT has reduced the number of missing ramps by 20% since 2011 and it’s planning to spend $18 million in the near future to improve accessibility.

“We stand by our record of ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance. We stand by the work that we’ve done and bringing work up to current standards because the standards keep changing over time,” says Fuller.

The lawsuit wants the court to force ODOT to assess its work over the last 25 years and expedite the accessibility upgrades.

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