Oregon - Archive

Portland Captioning Proposal Receives Enthusiastic PCOD Support

December 17, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Technology

 

 

PORTLAND, OR December 16, 2014, Spokespersons for Portland: Turn on the Captions Now! (PTCN) David Viers and Jim House co-presented about PTCN’s efforts to require all television sets in public places within the city to the Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD) at its regular meeting on Friday, December 12, 2014. The presentation was followed by a few questions, and concluded with a resounding vote of support by the Commission.

In the presentation, David and Jim reviewed the advantages of captioning, and the lack thereof on many television sets in public places like restaurants, bars, gyms, waiting rooms, libraries and other places where people watch television outside the homes. However, many public places have become proactive in turning on the captions, simply because of the noisy environment and the fact that customers need a way to know what is being said during newscasts, sports games, and emergency announcements.

There are similar laws in San Francisco and the State of Maryland. Portland has the opportunity to take the lead and become a Model City for Individuals with Disabilities according to Portland City Council member Amanda Fritz, who is introducing the ordinance for consideration by the Portland City Council. The San Francisco ordinance required captioning at all times, but limited the scope of coverage to government facilities and sponsored events such as outdoor movies in a park. The Maryland law expanded the scope of coverage to include private businesses, but the requirement is effective only when a customer or patron makes a request, which is often unfruitful because of so-called technical difficulties or staff inexperience. The City of Portland can expand on the merits of both prior legislations while crafting its ordinance. The primary goal of enforcement would be to educate businesses of their obligations and to empower consumers by making them aware of their rights to access information on television.

After the presentation, there were some questions regarding Spanish captioning and theatrical movie captioning. At the end, the PCOD voted unanimously to support the concepts and looks forward to helping PCTN move the captioning proposal forward.

 

“With the passage of this ordinance, Portland will show everyone – both citizens and visitors — that this is a city that is welcoming to everyone, regardless of abilities or disabilities,” exclaimed Carol Studemund, who helped initiate this grassroot effort.  Carol is the founder and president of LNS Captioning, serves on the captioning committee of National Court Reporters Association, is chair of the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, and also with Portland Community Media.

 

“With the help of PCTN, Portland has this opportunity to take the lead and blaze new trails in accessibility where everyone has full and equal access to vital information on televisions anywhere and everywhere,” proclaimed Jim House, a technology accessibility specialist who spearheaded this effort with Ms. Studenmund.  A native of Portland, Jim also serves on the accessibility committee of National Emergency Numbering Association and recently relocated here after spending more than 15 years with Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. in Washington, D.C. promoting accessible technologies for people with hearing disabilities at the Federal Communications Commission and other consumer, government, and industry forums.

 

“This proposed ordinance to turn on the captions on televisions in every public place will enhance the quality of life for both non-hearing and hearing people in the City of Roses,” said David Viers, an advocate for people who are hard of hearing who lends a hand promoting this effort .  Viers is a semi-retired nonprofit administrator with experience in two centers for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

 

Grateful appreciation is due to the following consumer organizations for their support:

  • Oregon Association of the Deaf
  • Hearing Loss Association of America – Oregon State Association (HLAA-OR)
  • Oregon Communications Access Project (OR-CAP), a local grassroot advocacy group that is credited with implementing captioning at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland Trail Blazers, and other venues.

 

To support our efforts and be informed with updates of future developments, go to:

 

Jim House

 

Deaf Oregonians cry foul in DHS contracting process

July 31, 2014 in Community News, Interpreting & Transliterating

 

 

Saerom Yoo,
Statesman Journal
Article Source

The Oregon Department of Human Services is in the process of hiring a company to coordinate and provide interpretive services for deaf and hard of hearing Oregonians, but the very people who are supposed to benefit from the services are saying they’ve been left out of the process.

The deaf and hard of hearing community is criticizing the state for not soliciting its input when writing the request for proposal and for choosing an out-of-state company. Signing Resources & Interpreters is negotiating a contract with state officials. Some have demanded that the state cease talks with the Vancouver, Wa., company and start over.

DOCUMENT: Signing Resources and Interpreters Redacted
DOCUMENT: Request for Proposal from DHS
DOCUMENT: RFP 3724 Scores – Redacted

For years, there was only one full-time state staffer coordinating and billing for interpretive services across the state, said Nathan Singer, deputy chief operating officer for aging and people with disabilities. But as the job became more demanding, Singer said, it became clear that a contractor was needed to help provide the services.

The program supports hearing impaired Oregonians’ ability to participate in public meetings and take advantage of state provided services. Other government agencies can also request the service from DHS.

According to the request for proposal, the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides 700 to 1,100 hours of interpreter services statewide per month.

The RFP was issued in April. Seven proposals were submitted and six were scored by three DHS employees and one member of the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Advisory Committee. DHS is now in negotiations with the top scoring proposer.

Members of Oregon’s deaf community and advocates packed a meeting room in the Oregon State Library on Wednesday afternoon for an open forum with DHS. With the help of interpreters, people asked questions and expressed their complaints.

Chad Ludwig, president of the Oregon Association of the Deaf, said through an interpreter that DHS did not seek out comments from the ODHHS advisory committee and that it invited members to help score the proposers late in the process. The state also refused to accept the committee’s input in editing the RFP, he said.

The OAD board also has concerns with Signing Resources & Interpreters, he said, because leaders of the local deaf community have never heard of the business.

Singer agreed that DHS could have done a better job engaging with the deaf community, but during the procurement process, the state takes a step back from speaking with stakeholders. The hands off approach is deliberate and used to avoid creating a perception of favoritism, he said.

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