portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

homelessness | social services

Civil Rights Violation at Oregon DHS

I have an ongoing civil rights complaint with Oregon DHS (Dept. of Human Services) After nearly a dozen letters I remain frustrated. here is the letter.
To: Oreogn DHS

Is it just me, or is just that everything you have told me about what to do or what is supposed to happen continues to change.

I feel like I am in some kind of Darwinian experiment where not only is everything constantly changing but evolving into more work for me.

I feel that I have been very patient with this whole process even to the point of volunteering my time to review supposed progress and provide support to an ongoing situation. All this despite the fact that it is your agency that violated my civil rights and continues to make it a long, winding and difficult path to obtain services to which I am eligible and entitled to receive.

It should be apparent, at this point, that anyone who reviews all that has transpired will see rampant inconsistent behavior, gross continued incompetence, and a most disastrous inability to deliver services in a timely and professional manner.

I do not understand the reason why I am consistently treated so poorly by your agency and its employees. The caviler, unprofessional and self-serving behavior that is directed towards me is unwarranted, and only causes further delay in the processing of my benefits and the delivery of services and benefits that I am, by law, entitled to.

This kind of experience continues to aggravate my health conditions, makes my healing process that much more complicated, difficult and prolonged. Not to mention costing the state and federal governments more money.

Every six months it is the same sad story of mistakes, confusion and excuses. This combined with meaningless apologies, an unwillingness to change and seemingly vast and bold management level practice of covering up of any wrongdoing on the part of managers of your department.

I have every right to be upset, angry and frustrated by the experience presented to me by employees and management of the Oregon Department of Human Services and its Self Sufficiency Centers.

It seems clear to me now that in the State of Oregon, that the poor, disadvantaged and disabled are really just an after thought. We continue to be treated with indifference and callous behavior from those who are supposed to be helping us. The continued "need" of the politicians to balance state and federal budgets by removing benefits from those who have no other means only proves that in our "modern" society people in my situation are viewed as a burden. After all, what possible contribution to society can a person with a disability make.

It would appear that standing up for my civil rights has only made my situation more difficult and continues to make the delivery of benefits a frustrating and protracted affair.

Maybe that is the intent of the State of Oregon Department of Human Services. Seems like a good plan. If we make it difficult to find, apply and obtain benefits then the state spends less money. Those who complain about it will have even more difficulties.

Frankly, this sheep is sorry to have rocked the boat. I suppose I should just get back in line a take a number and wait my turn.

Oh, wait! That's right I forgot. My wheelchair won't fit through the door and there is no place for me to wait in line. If its all right with the State of Oregon I'll just crawl down the stairs and lie here on the floor until my number is called. Sorry to have been a bother and an interruption. You can go back to kicking me now.

It takes a lot to really piss me off. Congratulations.

One persons doesnt make a difference 27.Sep.2005 19:50


It appears to me that some one is quite a bit fustrated with the way their life line has traveld. I do agree that your rights to the same benifits as every one else is an important matter. But as we all know in this lovely state unless it involves a goverment offical or some one of such power that it does not matter to them. But i want want to know one thing...WHY are you troubeling your self with this...you have so much to live for and instead of enjoying it while you have it you would rather complain for lack of a better word...life is not that hard and its definantly not worth wasting.

Walk a mile, dude... 18.Oct.2005 04:17

Madam Hatter

To me: you obviously have never had to deal with some of the sadists at DHS who hold your very existence in the palm of their twisted little claws. How enlightened and evolved you have the luxury of being when you have a safe, secure roof over your head or decent food on the table. Why is omthunders troubling her/himself with this? Because a caseworker can (and some will) destroy you just because they can. "It appears to me some one is quite a bit frustrated by the way their life has traveled"?? DUH! Of course! Does that make the behavior of some at DHS less reprehensible? Or was that just another one of those insinuations that if you're poor - you deserve it?

Let's hope you never have to need these services.

I sympathize with your situation wholeheartedly!!! 22.Nov.2005 00:05

Annie Oakey Gwenevyre@msn.com

Hey, I have to go through the same Cr**p myself! I'm needing to file a civil rights complaint. Hey, I'm trying to do some advocacy through the Oregon FOod Bank (we have a new group that started called CAN)....

If interested in joining this group please contact me.

Our next meeting is 13 Dec in a downtown location, don't know where yet.

We could share war stories.....

They gave me a new casemanager, she never notified me...I called and found out....had a new casemanager for several months, asked for notification in writing, they said they don't do that.

Called her 7-8 times in 3 months, GOT NO RESPONSE> NO APOLOGY< etc.....

She told me I need to communicate a little bit better.......I speak ENglish and speak slowly, guess that is not good enough for her tho.

Yeah, it has made an negative impact on my health too........!!!!!!!

I sympathize with your situation!! DHS IS VERY DANGERIOUS> 23.Dec.2005 07:07

fishindave@yahoo.com fishindave@yahoo.com

I need some sound Advice, I fill that my 36 year Old Finance Civil Rights were Violated, When DHS performed a Closed interview with Her 5 Year Old Daughter without Mom Being Present...! A one Hour interview and Physical, To determine if a baby sitter had sexually abused her.
And now, Based on that Interview, Mom is heading back to Court to defend her Child
Raising Skills. Which are Excellent I might Add. There is no Abuse, No brusing no behavior outburst. But yet DHS fills that Our Daughter is best served in Foster care.
Can anyone please give me a Idea of how to fight them. E-mail is  fishindave@Yahoo.com
Court is today at 1PM in OREGON CITY Juvenile Court: 2121 Kaen Road. Thanks Again

Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitaiton 17.Jan.2006 12:01

Erna Boldt Princes479@aol.com

I can sympathize with all of the comments on DHS. While they obviously are attempting to do a job they are being paid for my taxpayer allocations, there case workers lack education in specific fields, or are trying to ignore their duties to investigate complaints. Usually their reply is lack of funds....

I am not sure if the Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division - Office of Justice Progtrams - or any of the many civil rights departments (remember this is federal bureaucracy) are going to be helpful. You are lucky just to get a contact person...

DHS will refer you back to the locals - and even the regional office in Seattle, will shed any ressponsibility to look into violations of abuse and lack of enforcement.

If you have any quesstions, contact me under  Princes479@aol.com clearly identifying your response, or it will end up in Spam which I do not open.


I feel your pain 04.Mar.2006 23:15


DHS is designed to mess with people in need. I went in to get a domestic violence grant so I would be able to provide my kids with a safe place to live without my husband around and after they had me borrow my moms car 3 times in a week and a half to get to the office that is in ST.John's,when I live 2 1/2 miles away from the Hollywood district office,they approve the grant but then when I ask that my rent or even my gas bill be paid my worker tells me the grant isn't to pay for stuff like that. They'll pay for my locks to be changed,security systems,or even for moving costs,but not rent.Obviously my kids and I would be safer on the streets then in our house.I don't know anyone that could find a house big enough for 4 kids and pack and move a 6 bedroom house by themselves for 1,200. With no car on top of it. I don't need my locks changed. I have all the keys to my house. I need help for like 2 months so I can find a job since my husband gambled all our money away and split with the car! They act like it's their money! I always worked and paid my taxes and now that I need some of it back I can get approved but I can't have it? What a waste of time. They should live on my budget.If their clients got together to run the place we could help twice as many people with half the drama.To touch on what the person wrote about their worker not notifying them,they HAVE TO notify you in writing ANYTIME there are changes to your case. And also if those changes affect any of your benifits they have to give you at least 10 days prior written notice of the change. So if they send you a letter on the 22nd of the month that on the 1st you won't be getting cash or food stamps they will actually have to still give it to you. Call the Govoners hotline to report case managers that don't return calls within 24 hours,that's all the time they get to return calls.I've called that # and within a few hours got calls from my worker appologizing to me.1-800-422-5238

currently taking OVRS to trial on a very similar issuse(s) 15.Mar.2007 19:00

Ummm my name is

Currently it is 3/15/07

I have been with DHS/OVRS for approxmitly 3yrs

In reagards to domestic volience(me and my son being the victims here)
You name it and I have been through to from the intitial abuse to the Goverment/state funded abuse.

what I have been through is on par with a creepy novel
Drugged, hit, hospitalized twice, and that was just from the spouse
The state agentcy just trying to repeat where the spouse left off at

Oh i forgot as a side note

I am not a female
and not small
and not big
and do not get mad and last but not least

I am disablied in an ususal way it is a speech disorder(look up "cluttering" that i am using my weakness as my strong point.

I am currently taking on the state (OVRS) to fix what they screwed up
and also requesting to go back to college to enter law school and i quess this is making them nervous since I am slowly passing all testI have been forced to take and have not gotten upset, although, I do call out their mistakes with a simlie repeat back to them (DHS/OVRS)the poor direction with a phrase of " I have a question" which i belive is driving them (DHS) nuts

Anyways I would quit if I could But under my circomstances I don't realy have a choice I want to go to Law School and I deserve that.

Ummm my name is