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(Eugene, Oregon) The Road To Freedom bus rolled into Oregon with a warm and upbeat welcome from the Eugene- and Springfield-area disability community and local officials. Casey Martin — the professional golfer who was granted by the Supreme Court the right, under the ADA, to use a golf cart to accommodate his disability — was just one of the highlights of this upbeat bus stop which included music, juggling, comedy skits and more.

Dignitaries welcoming the bus included Eugene’s Mayor Kitty Piercy and Springfield’s Mayor Sid Leiken, along with County Commissioner Pete Sorenson. The location, appropriately enough, was outdoors at the Lane Transit District bus depot and the event attracted commuters from throughout the region along with our disability and civil rights colleagues and invited guests. The historical exhibit — along with a wonderful feast and refreshments — was inside the Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA) building.

LILA’s executive director, Jon West — who closed the show joined by LILA staff with a musical performance about “rolling down the highway” — was the Master of Ceremonies for the day. Speakers included LILA Board President, Eugene Organ (Yes, his real name!); Hugh Massengill, Chair of the Eugene Human Rights Committee on Accessibility; Gary Gaydos, LTD Board President; Terry Parker, LTD Accessible Services Manager; Terry Coplin, CEO of Lane Individual Practice Association; Molly Elliot, Hilyard Community Center Adaptive Recreation and Inclusion Coordinator; and our good friends from MindFreedom International, David Oaks and Martin Rafferty. ADA Watch’s Jim Ward presented the mission of the Road To Freedom campaign and thanked everyone involved for putting together such a wonderful day!

In between the powerful words of support from our speakers, the large audience was treated to performances by a fabulous and high-powered  drumming group, Samba Ja, Eugene’s own mobile percussion ensemble; a comedy juggling performance (with fire!); and a comedy skit by Bjo Ashwill and Gweneth Van Frank who imagined a world controlled by people with disabilities and their response to the passage of a new law that mandated accommodations for “able-bodied” citizens. Just think, they declared, of the burdens on business created by mandatory stairs and even chairs for “AB” workers who have to sit once and awhile!

Media Notes: The Road To Freedom bus crew was up early on the morning of this event as the ABC television affiliate, WKEZI, interviewed Jim Ward and Tom Olin during three segments of their 5 – 7 am news program. Two network affiliate stations also covered the event itself, resulting in significant coverage during the morning and evening news. On the radio, Jim Ward was a guest during the morning show on Progressive Talk Radio WKOPT. Print coverage included an Op-Ed written by LILA board president, Eugene Organ, which ran in the Register-Guard under the headline: “Let’s Take the Next Step in Accommodating Disabilities.”