01-27-2023  11:20 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
The Associated Press
Published: 08 September 2022

The city of Portland, Oregon, is being sued by disabled residents who say officials aren't keeping public sidewalks accessible because they allow homeless people to camp on sidewalks.

The class action lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, accuses the city of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, 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 spoke of problems encountered using Portland streets 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.

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