Salem, Oregon – Bridges Oregon was selected by the Oregon Public Utility Commission to provide Oregon’s first-ever Communication Facilitator services to DeafBlind and Deaf or Hard of Hearing Oregonians who have a disability in the upper extremities that affect expressive communication.

The organization is the only statewide linguistic and culturally responsive nonprofit organization in Oregon to provide advocacy, education, and communication services to Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing. Bridges Oregon is grateful to Dr. Damara Paris, who donated her services as the lead writer for the proposal. Dr. Paris has since joined the Bridges Oregon board.

Oregon is the first state in the nation to enact into law Communication Facilitator services through House Bill 3205 that was introduced during the 2019 Oregon Legislature. “This would not be made possible without the effort of the local DeafBlind community and support of the Oregon Association of the Deaf,” said Chad A. Ludwig, Executive Director of Bridges Oregon.

Communication Facilitators are specially trained or experienced professionals that provide DeafBlind Oregonians access to video telephony calls such as FaceTime and Zoom through sign language using tactile or close vision methods. While the DeafBlind person signs directly to the other party, the Communication Facilitator interprets or relays what the other party says.  When the other party is unable to understand the message the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person with a disability in the upper extremities expresses, Communication Facilitators use their receptive skills to relay or convey that message.

Bridges Oregon will also offer Protactile, Medical, and Legal Communication Facilitator services. Bridges Oregon will announce the availability of Communication Facilitator services in summer 2022.  For more information, contact Bridges Oregon at or (971) 202-1500.

About Bridges Oregon:

Bridges Oregon is a nonprofit for Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing or face other communication barriers. It is in our mission to facilitate equity, inclusiveness, and to provide a bridge to opportunities through advocacy, education, and communication.