People First of Oregon  

Fairview: The Closing Chapter


Integrate disabled into community

As a friend and advocate for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities for the past 30 years, I am pleased that the Olmstead vs. L.C., et. al., case ended in favor of community settings for people who were once automatically placed in institutions ("Ruling urges states to place disabled in community," June 23).

Parents and advocates have wanted their sons, daughters and friends living in the community with them. Individuals have longed for lives in their home neighborhoods. With the development of community living situations here in Oregon and the planned closure of Fairview Training Center in Salem, this can now be a choice for Oregonians who have developmental disabilities.

The Arc of Multnomah County and other advocacy organizations work to assist individuals and their families in finding appropriate integrated settings. We believe that living in the community in the least restrictive setting can and should happen for those individuals who want this option.

I have personally observed individuals I have known for many years absolutely blossom when they are finally allowed to live in the community, get involved in activities, have friends, be close to their families and perhaps even have jobs.

This article by Gretchan A. Yost was published by the Oregonian, July 16, 1999 as a guest opinion

GRETCHEN A. YOST is the Executive director of The Arc of Multnomah County Southwest Portland