Disabled Portland residents can’t traverse the Oregon metropolis due to the widespread homeless encampments obstructing the sidewalks, a brand new lawsuit argues.
The federal class motion swimsuit, introduced ahead by disabled folks on Tuesday, says the tents make it subsequent to unattainable to maneuver round Portland sidewalks in wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Daily the issue persists, the town is violating the People with Disabilities Act, the authorized motion states.
One plaintiff who makes use of a wheelchair complained he was virtually hit by a automobile because of the downside.
“I couldn’t get to my breakfast within the morning as a result of there was a tent protecting the entire sidewalk,” Keith Martin, 71, mentioned. “I used to be pressured onto the road and narrowly missed a streetcar that got here across the nook.”
The plaintiffs need the town to clear sidewalks of tents and rubbish and “assemble, buy, or in any other case present for emergency shelters wherein to deal with the unsheltered individuals” who could also be affected.
“All the class of individuals with disabilities are often disadvantaged of the advantages of providers of the town of Portland,” mentioned John DiLorenzo, a lawyer representing the group.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s workplace declined remark to the Related Press Thursday.
One other plaintiff, Steve Jackson, who’s blind and makes use of a cane, mentioned he struggles to speak with out knocking into the makeshift houses.
“Usually there’s tents blocking your entire sidewalk, the place I don’t see them as a result of they weren’t there the day earlier than, and I hit the tent after which individuals are mad at me and suppose I’m attacking them,” Jackson, 47, mentioned throughout a information convention.
About 13% of individuals in Portland dwell with a incapacity.
Homelessness is a significant downside in Portland relationship again years and solely bought worse since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, a housing scarcity and excessive drug dependancy charges have contributed to the heartbreaking disaster.
With Submit wires