I Got a New Job

As the title says, I got a new job. I’m still with the city of Portland, but I will soon be working for Parks & Recreation.

I gave my notice with the Office of Equity and Human Rights today. My last day will be Friday, July 1. On Thursday, July 7, I will become the Americans With Disabilities Act coordinator for Portland Parks & Recreation. In some ways, the role will be similar to what Im doing now as the ADA Title II policy coordinator, but, given the way Portland works, I believe I will be able to accomplish more in this role. The slight pay raise and increase in classification are also nice.

Obviously, I can’t predict the future. Still, I think there are opportunities in this new position. I think there is a chance to demonstrate what accessibility can look like in a large, public facing bureau. Instead of making recommendations and hoping someone follows them, I should have the ability to see my work translated into actual accessibility improvements that increase access to Portland’s parks and provide more recreational opportunities for people with disabilities.

In no particular order, I am hoping to address areas of effective communication (including the creation of more accessible web content and electronic documents), training field staff and customer service personnel on treating people with disabilities with dignity through an understanding of disability etiquette, working to improve access to facilities, and more. I know none of this will be an overnight success. But there will be victories to celebrate along the way. Just being able to train staff on something and watching it be implemented will be a nice change.

Sure, there will be bureaucratic challenges, there always are in government, but I know this is a good change for me at this time of my life. I have written before about some of the frustrations I have been facing around accommodations in my current job, I believe going to a large bureau with more support staff will make some of those accessibility issues easier. This job won’t be perfect, no job is perfect. I will experience frustration and disappointment. Things won’t move as fast as I would like. I may even face additional discrimination. But I’m excited to see what the future holds.

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