Our Proud Heritage
People with disabilities have a long history of living in the shadows of society. While we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go. The Arc is largely an advocacy organization. We have been involved in working with families, individuals with I/DD and statewide initiatives to champion several issues, including:
- Families wanted a better life for their children outside of state institutions. They wanted their children at home and educated in the community. Together, with Lisl Waechter, families banded together to incorporate The Arc of Lane County and the Pearl Buck School. (1952)
- Families united through The Arc to open one of the first model programs in the state (Alvord Taylor) for providing residential services outside the state institutions. (1970)
- The Arc began strong advocacy work on closing down state institutions and families wanted to move their children and adult children back into the community. The Arc was one of the first programs to provide residential services in small group settings for individuals (including children) moving out of Fairview and experiencing complex cognitive, behavioral and medical support needs.
- In partnership with other Arc’s across Oregon, Lane County was instrumental in the closer of Fairview. In 1981, more than 1,300 Oregonians with I/DD lived at the Fairview Training Center, where for decades they were called “inmates”. Fairview officially closed its doors in 2000.
- The Arc championed the Waitlist Campaign to eliminate waitlists and gain access to universal supports. (1999)
- Aided in the development of Full Access, a non-profit established under Medicaid Waivered services to ensure all individuals had access to services. (2001)
- Then Governor Kitzhaber issued an Executive Order as the next step in Oregon’s commitment to integrated employment for people with I/DD. The Arc organized and facilitates a local Employment First group that consists of a variety of service agencies dedicated to community-based employment. (2013)
- We are currently embarking on a campaign to educate the community through public awareness to increase visibility and acceptance of people with I/DD both in their community and in a work setting. This is a partnership between Oregon Department of Human Services, Comcast and The Arc Lane County. We will not only do general marketing, but we will continue to provide diversity training and education to local business, schools and other community-based organizations. The goal is to break down barriers, increase social awareness and decrease stereotypes.