We Count Too



It's Rose Festival fleet week. There have been service alerts from Trimet (which are currently still up on their website) and warnings from news outlets that there would be traffic interruptions and back up yesterday and today due to the extra bridge lifts and extra traffic.


As someone who relied on paratransit for 8 years (when I first became physically disabled and moved home to live with my mom and she was still working - not retired like she is now), the only way to bring about any change with regard to paratransit is to get the federal government involved. TriMet (and whoever they subcontract, like the taxi service) to run their paratransit services gets PAID BIG MONEY BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DO SO. The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) made it federal law that any municipality that has public transportation is required to provide public transportation to the disabled and those municipalities receive federal money for doing so.

When I moved back home to upstate NY, the CDTA had been cited and investigated by the federal government on numerous occasions for violating the ADA and not running their paratransit program properly. Over the 8 years I was a customer, the service did improve (mostly due to CDTA subcontracting with a different taxi provider and purchasing an entire new fleet of taxi vehicles), however there were still problems. Everything I have read about TriMet's paratransit problems indicate intervention by the federal government is going to be required.


I'm not saying don't file complaints with TriMet, the city of Portland, and whoever else you can to bring attention to this problem. I'm also not saying stop talking about this publicly - go to the press, go to the disability lawyers and advocates and get them involved, do whatever you feel comfortable doing and capable of doing (I know what it means to have a limited capacity or ability energy-wise to fight this kind of fight).

I do feel for you. I spent an entire second life waiting for STAR (that's what CDTA's paratransit program is called). I was late for so many doctors' appointments, my mom ended up having to take time off from work to get me to my appointments on time. I filed complaints with the CDTA, the managers of the STAR program, New York State's Attorney General, and the federal government agency that oversees the paratransit program. I attended public meetings regarding public transportation (especially when they tried to raise the rates on paratransit, which were already a full dollar higher than regular public transportation and would unduly burden the poorest and most vulnerable people), I spoke to disability advocates, and I spoke with the press.

Unfortunately, the current administration in the White House and the federal government are doing everything in their power to undermine and undo the Americans with Disabilities Act and all other protections for the disabled (including disabled children who are promised a public education under federal law, at least they were until DeVos took over and decimated their protections).

Good luck.


It was the god-damn Rose Festival. We were all inconvenienced. Too bad about Trump's Amerikkka. Sry, Bernie bros -- socialism is an idea whose time will never come to the USA. The very people who need it the most stay tuned to the hate stations that prevent mutual cause or common understanding. I hope that you eventually make your appointment and that the Force Be With You.