3 Governance: City Council, Boards and Commissions
3.1 ADA Standard
Beaverton’s commitment to being an inclusive and welcoming community fits well with the ADA requirements of providing equal access to City governance so that people with disabilities can be informed, engaged participants in civic life. There are two major accessibility areas to consider: 1) access to the proceedings; and 2) access to serving and participating in City government. The City must reasonably modify its policies, practices, and procedures to provide access to all programs, services, activities, and benefits of governance. Effective communication must be provided for meetings and interactions with the public, and requirements for participation must not have the effect of excluding people with disabilities.
3.2 Self - Evaluation
3.2.1 City Council
The work of Beaverton’s elected City Council sets the vision and tone for the City. Council members make policy and fiscal decisions that impact residents of Beaverton and the region. All City Council meetings are broadcast live, and are then posted on the City’s website for streaming by Granicus, which includes closed captioning.
Members of the public interact with the City Council by attending meetings, providing oral or written communications, reading Council agenda packets, or watching or listening to the City Council meetings online.
3.2.2 Boards and Commissions
The City Council appoints volunteers to seventeen boards, commissions, and committees that provide detailed study and recommendations on important policy matters. Without the assistance of these dedicated volunteers, many complex and significant matters would receive only limited review.
3.2.3 Access to Proceedings
Based on survey results, the City provides sufficient access to meetings and deliberations. Employees generally respond quickly and appropriately to requests for communication access such as interpreters or captioning. An assistive listening system is available in the Council chambers where most public meetings are held. Agendas and other materials are generally available in accessible electronic formats.
All City Council and Planning Commission meetings can be viewed live online. Videos of City Council and Planning Commission meetings are accessible to people who are deaf and people with hearing loss through closed captioning. However, there is limited access for people who are blind or with low vision because there are no audio descriptions to note who is speaking or to convey information on slides presented at the meeting.
If requested, the City is prepared to provide audio descriptions as a reasonable accommodation.
3.2.4 Access to Service and Participation
Part of Beaverton’s commitment to diversity is to increase representation within City government. While there are no eligibility criteria for appointed or elected offices that appear to screen out individuals with disabilities, historic under-representation persists, something that is not easily changed.
The BOLD program, a leadership development program organized by the Cultural Inclusion Program of the Mayor’s Office, serves as an onramp to civic participation. Residents attend a nine-week course with presentations from every City department and many community organizations, for an in-depth introduction to how City government functions. The City has actively recruited a more diverse group, including people with disabilities, and has seen several graduates each year go on to City appointments, elective office, and other community leadership positions.
- Continue to actively recruit people with disabilities to service on City boards, committees, and commissions.
- Provide ADA training on a regular recurring basis to members of the City Council, boards, and commissions on ADA etiquette plus ADA responsibilities and obligations for City governments.