Captions On during a football game. Life is good!
How Should Caption Viewers Approach Businesses
On November 18, 2015, a new law was passed that mandates that all televisions for viewing by the public in businesses within the city limits of Portland must have the Captioning feature activated. This law goes into effect 30 days after the date of passage (December 18th).

Here are some suggestions for how patrons of a business should approach that business:

A. It is suggested that a polite request (as opposed to a demand) should always be the first approach. Our goal is educate and seek cooperation rather than a confrontational approach.

B. Be aware that this law pertains only to businesses falling within the city limits of Portland. Therefore, make sure this business is covered by the law. Businesses may have a Portland mailing address, but still be outside the city limits. (NOTE: But even if a business is outside this jurisdiction, it would not hurt to mention the new Portland legislation and ask if the Captions can be turned ON).

C. If the Captions are ON, take a minute to thank the business employee with whom you are interacting and tell him/her how much you appreciate the Captions - and that you will be spreading the word to your family/friends about this great business (restaurant, bar, bakery, or whatever) who provides this valuable accommodation.

D. If the Captions are not on, it is suggested that the following be done:
  1. Ask to speak to the manager or person in charge.
  2. Ask if this person is aware of the ordinance that was passed by the city of Portland.
    • If the answer is "Yes", ask why the Captions are not ON.
    • If the answer is "No", if the manager knew about the ordinance but has not complied, “Ask them to turn on the captions.” Then that puts the ball in that manager’s court to say why not.
    • Then we can ask, “Do you need more information about how to do it?” Tell them about this website at . It might be helpful to have a copy of this ordinance which can be downloaded from:
    • You may want to hand them our flyer that guides the manager on how to turn on the captions. Download and print the How to Comply flyer from here.
  3. If the Captions are then turned ON, see and do C above.
  4. Check back with the business in one or two weeks.
  5. If the business still refuses to turn the Captions ON, then request that person's name, informing him/her that you will need it for when you file your complaint with the city. Document the encounter by writing down the business name, date and time of occurrence(s), who you spoke with at the first and any subsequent meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.

E. If you believe a violation has occurred, you can contact Kim Sneath at:

Portland City Attorney’s Office
1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 430
Portland, OR 97204

Phone: 503.823.3085
Fax: 503.823.3089
If the City Attorney reasonably believes a violation has occurred, the City Attorney may issue a written determination addressing the violation.  The addressee must provide a written response within 10 business days either disputing the occurrence of the violation or describing how the violation has been abated and how such violations will be prevented from reoccurring.
If the addressee fails to provide a written response, or the City Attorney is not reasonably satisfying with the response, the City Attorney may file a complaint with the Code Hearings Officer, as provided in PCC 22.03.020.  The City Attorney may request that the Code Hearings Officer impose civil penalties not to exceed $500 for each day the violation is committed.  
How to Comply
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