In the late 1970's, a group of local Deaf leaders created an endowment fund with the Oregon Association of the Deaf (OAD) to one day establish a commission providing services Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing and those with additional disabilities.
Since that time, the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing community has lobbied the Oregon legislature to fund these much-needed community services. Legislation was introduced in 1996, 2004, 2015 and 2017.
In 2015, legislators funded a community needs assessment, later conducted by Western Oregon University and published December 2016. Despite the assessment’s findings, legislators did not pass proposed legislation in 2017 that would have met critical community needs, prompting the inception of Bridges Oregon.
This community will not continue to wait on a legislature that meets it with inaction. Bridges Oregon will promote equality, accessibility and opportunity for individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing in Oregon.