Time to Turn on the Captions in Portland


It’s official. Starting today, the City of Portland, Oregon, will require all televisions visible in public establishments to activate the closed caption function. Prompted by a complaint from accessibility activists that they were often met with resistance when requesting closed captions in local restaurants and bars, the Portland City Council met and passed the ordinance on November 18th, 2015 with a unanimous 5-0 decision.

The policy was administered by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz in partnership with the Portland Commission on Disability, Hearing Loss Association of America, and the Oregon Association of the Deaf. "I expect that this requirement will soon be the norm across the country. Universal access is the right policy choice," Fritz stated in a news release.

“We can’t figure out how to turn them on,” will no longer be an acceptable defense. In an effort to help business owners quickly navigate their way through their cable provider’s on-screen menus, the city has posted instructions on how to activate captions on their website. Restaurants, bars, barber shops, doctors’ offices, gyms, and businesses alike will face a $500 fine if they do not comply effective today, December 18th, 2015.

A copy of Ordinance #187454 can be found here, along with the press release here.