The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides comprehensive civil rights protections to qualified individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, State and local government services, and telecommunications. A primary goal of the ADA is the equal participation of individuals with disabilities in the "mainstream" of American society. Title II of the Act took effect on January 26, 1992 and covers programs, activities, and services of public entities, including Clark County, Washington. Most requirements of Title II are based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federally assisted programs and activities. The ADA extends Section 504's non-discrimination requirement to all activities of public entities, not only those that receive Federal financial assistance.
Under Title II, a public entity may not deny the benefits of its programs, activities, or services to individuals with disabilities because its facilities are inaccessible. A public entity's programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, must be made readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, except where to do so would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program; result in undue financial and administrative burdens or threaten or destroy the historic significance of an historic property. This standard, known as "program accessibility" applies to all existing facilities of a public entity. Under this standard, Clark County is not required to make all its facilities or every part of a single facility accessible. Program accessibility may be achieved by a number of methods, including but not limited to: alteration of existing facilities to remove architectural barriers, the relocation of activities or services from inaccessible to accessible buildings, the redesign of equipment, and assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, or delivery of services at alternate accessible sites. When choosing a method of providing program access, priority is to be given to the one that results in the most integrated setting appropriate to encourage interaction among all users, including individuals with disabilities.
The plan must:
- List the physical barriers in a public entity's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs, activities, and services to individuals with disabilities,
- Describe the methods that will be used to remove these barriers,
- Specify the schedule for taking the necessary steps to comply with Title II of the ADA; and,
- Name the individual responsible for the plan's implementation
The Clark County Transition Plan and Responsibilities
This is an overview of the Clark County Transition Plan. The plan identifies barriers to program accessibility on properties owned and maintained by Clark County and provides project checklists to track improvements. The plan consists of three areas:
- Accessibility to County buildings and facilities - Oversight by Clark County General Services Department
- Accessibility to County parks - Oversight by Vancouver/Clark Parks Department
- Sidewalks and Transportation - Oversight by Clark County Public Works Department/Transportation Program
Interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, must be provided an opportunity to comment on the transition plan. Citizens may call or email the Clark County ADA Office to comment on the plan. The plan must also be made available for public inspection for a period of three years.
Clark County Citizens ADA Advisory Committee
The Clark County ADA Office initially conducted accessibility surveys on county buildings and facilities. However, it was later determined that individuals with disabilities could provide unparalleled insight into the transition plan. Therefore, the Clark County Board of Commissioners authorized creation of the Clark County Citizens ADA Advisory Committee.
The committee is comprised of four county residents; a Clark County Community Development plans examiner and the Clark County ADA Compliance Officer. The Clark County Facilities Maintenance manager provides additional technical insight and estimates costs for barrier removal.
The Clark County Citizen ADA Advisory Committee meets monthly and schedules dates for accessibility surveys and other projects. It is understood by the Citizen ADA Advisory Committee that Clark County reserves the right to commit funding and schedule accessibility barrier removal projects as it deems necessary.
Accessibility Barrier Removal, Funding and Project Priorities
Clark County has remodeled or constructed many new facilities on the downtown government campus as well as other facilities located throughout the County. These buildings were constructed or remodeled pursuant to applicable state and local building codes and meet accessibility requirements; though in some cases, improvements are needed.
However, some county buildings were constructed prior to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. These structures were not originally designed pursuant to accessibility codes. While facilities constructed in more recent years have differing degrees of accessibility, various features within them may be deficient as a result of changing code provisions. Numerous structures, however, have undergone remodel and alterations and consequently do comply more fully with current building code and accessibility standards.
Additional work is needed to remove the remaining physical obstacles found within county buildings.
Physical removal of accessibility barriers will be implemented whenever possible on existing county facilities where it is technically feasible to do so. Facility surveys, provided below, identify the areas where improvements are needed and list the applicable IBC and ANSI codes. Project checklists summarize survey reports, track progress and funding.
Projects within the County's ADA Transition Plan are budgeted biennially and prioritized based on the following:
- Projects where the greatest number of individuals will benefit from available County services and/or where safety issues, related to accessibility, exist;
- Accessibility priorities such as parking, accessible routes and accessible restrooms; and,
- Available funding based on the biennial budget
Accessibility surveys are photographic lists of items that need to be corrected accompanied by applicable sections of the International Building Code and/or the American National Standard ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003 “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities”.
Project checklists accompany each accessibility survey as a means to track costs, list proposed dates for project completion as well as the year a project was completed. Footnotes may be provided if additional information regarding a project is needed.
The accessibility surveys and project checklists are available to the public. Citizens may make comments on the plan to the Clark County ADA Office.
Accessibility Barrier Removal Project Summary
As a means for reviewing current project status, information is provided below regarding accessibility barrier removal projects completed during the current and previous biennial budget cycles.
The 2007/2008 Clark County biennial budget allocated $200,000 specifically for accessibility barrier removal ... the ADA Improvement Fund. However, additional funding from a variety of county budget sources was also used to address accessibility issues. Project checklists list the year an accessibility barrier removal project was completed for a specific county building or facility and associated costs. Footnotes identify funding sources that were not part of the ADA Improvement Fund.
- Provide Access to the Lower Level of the Clark County Law Enforcement Center
- Install Detectable Warnings where Needed on Downtown Campus
- Construct Ramp on West End of Covered Sidewalk - Public Service Center
Due to a 34 million dollar reduction in anticipated revenues, the 2009/ 2010 ADA Facilities Improvement Fund was allocated $150,000. The funds will be used to construct a ramp on the west end of the Washington State University Research Facility Building located at 1919 NE 78th Street. The 79 acre agricultural research facility was recently deeded back to Clark County by Washington State University. Washington State University agricultural cooperative extension offices will be moved into the building on NE 78th Street which provides a wide-variety of services and programs to the public. A concept planning process is currently underway for the 78th Street/WSU property. The concept plan is intended to outline broad uses for the site and is anticipated to be complete by the summer of 2009. In considering future options for the use of the 78th Street/WSU Property, the county is committed to first and foremost preserving the property’s agricultural heritage and honoring its history as a poor farm by establishing uses that fairly and equitably benefit the community.
- Provided ramp access to the Heritage Farm Administration Building - NE 78th Street
- Provided additional accessible parking at Heritage Farm - West Entrance
- Provided accessible gardening plots and accessible parking at Heritage Farms for the Community Garden Program
- Constructed new ramp for access to the Mabry Corrections Center administrative offices
- Acquired and installed accessibility directional signage on downtown and Fairgrounds buildings
- Installed open space flush toilets and vertical grab bars where needed at Fairgrounds
- Installed directional signage to Fairgrounds accessible restrooms at inaccessible restrooms
- Identified and installed signage for Areas of Refuge within the Dolle Building
- Provided directional signage and access to Alliance One in Dolle Building
- Install hearing aid compatible assistive listening systems in District Court courtrooms
The following accessibility projects have been identified for improvements in 2011/2012.
Restrooms on the the 1st and 5th floors of the Courthouse will be renovated to ensure they meet code for accessibility. Currently, the 3rd floor family restroom is the only public restroom within the Courthouse that is fully accessible. Signage will be provided at restrooms on the 2nd and 4th floors with directions to accessible restrooms within the building. Per IBC Chapter 29 - Plumbing Systems - Section 2902.2.3 - Multistory Buildings - Required fixtures shall not be located more than one vertical story above or below the area served. The renovations noted will bring Courtroom restroom accessibility up to current code.
Heritage Farms Administration Building
Renovation of the administration building will ensure public accessibility to restrooms and the main conference room which will be used for gardening and agricultural classes.
Mabry Corrections Center
Renovations to the Mabry Corrections Center will include the following: Construction of an accessible ramp to the North administration building; accessible path from accessible parking access aisle to the administration buildings, re-stripping of the parking lot to include spaces for two accessible parking stalls and one access aisle, directional signage on the administration buildings to accessible entrances, and installation of a window on the North (front) administration building door for safety.
Val Ogden Center
The Val Ogden Center is a County building which is currently occupied by Consumer Voices are Born (CVAB); a non profit organization dedicated to provide a person-oriented, recovery-oriented, supportive community for individuals with mental illness. The Val Ogden Center will be utilized as a job coaching and skills center. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) will be sought to assist with renovation costs.
- Heritage Farms - Restroom renovations
- Heritage Farms - Accessible potting tables
- Heritage Farms - Inaccessible Entrance Signage
- Mabry Corrections Center - Accessible Ramp to administration building
- Mabry Corrections Center - Accessible pathway from ramped entrance to parking lot
- Mabry Corrections Center - Installation of accessible parking stalls and access aisle/signage/detectible warnings
- Mabry Corrections Center - Inaccessible entrance signage
- Courthouse Restroom Renovations