OCDD: Mission and Vision

Our mission is to advance social and policy change so that people with developmental disabilities, their families and communities may live, work, play, and learn together. Our vision is that all communities welcome and value people with disabilities and their families.

Guiding Principles and Beliefs

1. We believe disability is a natural part of the human experience.

2. We believe people with developmental disabilities and their families...

Define their own families and sources of support.

Are successful when they make informed choices and control their lives.

Are most effective when they work together for social and policy change.

Are more likely to succeed when we expect them to succeed.

3. We believe communities...

Are welcoming when everyone is valued.

Are better when members act together.

Thrive when everyone contributes.

4. We believe support service systems are most effective when...

Families are supported to raise children in stable and loving homes.

People are supported to live the lives they want in their communities.

Supports are based on individual strengths, goals and community.

They are accountable to the people they serve.

What's New

Exciting Announcement: Our Next Executive Director!

Dear Advocates,

OCDD is excited to announce that Leslie Sutton will become our next Executive Director starting Monday, December 21st!

Leslie has worked for last 15 years in disability, legislative, budget, civil rights and health policy development at the national, state and local levels. She began her career listening to and learning from Tribal communities in Washington State. These conversations set the course for her future work in the disability community. She values interpersonal connection, relationship building, and the importance of listening in leading towards solutions.

While practicing law, Leslie learned from her clients experiencing disability and their families about how they use services to be part of their communities and how these services could be better. She took that knowledge to the policy arena where she effectively amplifies the power of the voices of people experiencing IDD and their families to ensure that Oregon’s policies and rules support self-determination and connect people with their community in meaningful ways.

Leslie has served as OCDD’s Policy Director for the past eight years. During this time, she has fought to protect and strengthen programs that advance OCDD’s vision that Oregon is best when we all work together to create a place where everyone is supported to exercise self-determination as they live, work and play as members of their communities.

We thank Beth Kessler, Interim Executive Director, for her exemplary leadership during the search process, in addition to being an invaluable support for Leslie and the rest of the OCDD team during this time of transition. We are pleased Beth will be returning to her role as the Community Engagement Director and that she be supporting Leslie through this transition. “I was proud to facilitate a national search led by people with disabilities and their families with support from our tremendous community partners. Their leadership and commitment to the Council’s work and our role in the state of Oregon challenged candidates to demonstrate their values and their vision. Our Council made an excellent choice in Leslie Sutton and I will be proud to follow her leadership!” –Beth Kessler

“I recognize that the Council and the DD community have had tremendous change in a short amount of time. Change is hard for many people, but the Council is well positioned to effectively handle change. I look forward to supporting the work of the Council’s Equity committee by prioritizing time and relationships to implement the work and create organizational and community change. I am excited to use my policy leadership and connections to support the Council’s policy and advocacy work, particularly given Oregon’s current budget deficits. I will continue to support families and self-advocates to connect with each other and have the training and resources they need to be leaders in their lives and communities. Finally, I plan to ensure that the Council’s staff have what they need to succeed. We are in a time of transition and upheaval not only at the Council but as a society. A strong team makes for sustainable, impactful work.” –Leslie Sutton

As we anticipate a new year of opportunities, Leslie is a perfect fit to work alongside Council members, staff and partners. She brings the relationships, skills and vision we need to do this work. Please join us in welcoming Leslie Sutton as OCDD’s next Executive Director!


Daniel Alrick, OCDD Chair

Check out OCDD's Video on SB 1606!

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, hospitals were not allowing visitors. Because of this, people with disabilities avoided seeking care because they weren’t certain that they could have support people that they trusted with them at the hospital. Because of this, people with disabilities went to the legislature to change the law. They passed Senate Bill 1606,” says Senator Sara Gelser. Learn more about SB 1606 and your rights to have access to healthcare by watching our new video!

Niko's November Blog Post

A New Blog Post from Niko Boskovic

“November 2020: Heading into the last month of the most chaotic year of my lifetime, it’s a good time to focus our attention on the positive things coming ahead. First we have the holidays which will undoubtedly raise people’s spirits, but will also ignite emotions over COVID, resulting in more cases, and sadly – and unnecessarily – avoidable deaths. We will have to make some major adjustments in our lives to keep each other safe, but more importantly, we will have to protect people with disabilities from getting this virus, and when they do get sick, we will need to make sure they have the same access to treatment like non-disabled patients.

However, this protection has not been known to be a high priority to people outside the disability community. We see this in the current administration’s efforts to kill Obamacare, which millions of disabled Americans rely on; attempts to kill social security benefits; and a lack of representation of disability specialists and experts, i.e., self-advocates among the policy makers and deciders. It seems the last four years was a time of erasure where people with disabilities were concerned.

Maybe that’s why we find ourselves defending our right to access medical care and equitable treatment through legislation. Earlier this year, OCDD asked me to letterboard my thoughts about SB1606 which I wrote about in my July blog. This seems like such a long time ago, and here we are facing an infection rate that’s now triple what seemed high at the time. In the meantime, some of us got a stimulus check, but this could hardly cover one month’s expenses. I didn’t get one, because although I am employed, my parents claim me as a dependent on their taxes, and I am no longer a minor. This makes no sense to me because I am certain my care costs more than a neurotypical 19-year old’s does.

Read More

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Video and Resources

To stay updated and engaged, we have highlighted a few resources for you below:

To:  All ODDS Staff and Stakeholders

From:  Lilia Teninty, Director, Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

The Oregon Health Authority has identified several counties in Oregon with presumptive positive cases of COVID19. COVID19 is spread from person-to-person through droplets in the air and on surfaces that people touch. More information is on OHA’s website.

This situation is unfolding quickly and the risks for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are high. Under regular circumstances, we use meetings, the ODDS website and other avenues to gather input from our partners and stakeholders before issuing transmittals and other policy guidance. Thank you for understanding that our ability to that right now is significantly limited.

In order to protect the health and safety of the people we serve, and to provide clear guidance to our case management entities, we have issued a transmittal asking for CDDPs, Brokerages, Children’s Residential Services and Children’s Intensive In-Home Services to submit a list to ODDS of individuals at your CME who may at high-risk. This is to help ensure the safety of potentially vulnerable individuals.

ODDS is requesting this information to ensure that we know who may be at high-risk for COVID19 statewide. This information will be used to coordinate with individuals, families, CDDPs/Brokerages, providers and appropriate local Public Health entities. ODDS is available to provide technical assistance, as needed.

The Assessment Spreadsheet can also be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/SENIORS-DISABILITIES/DD/Pages/ODDS-COVID19-Information.aspx under “Case Managers.”

We have also issued transmittals requiring emergency plans for all our provider types, including adult and children’s foster care, 24-hour residential, supported living, employment, and community living/day support activity providers.

Other important information and guidance released this week includes:

  • Information from the Oregon Health Authority on new presumptive positive cases of COVID19.
  • Information from the Oregon Health Authority on infection control guidance for in-home workers.
  • New fact sheet from the Oregon Home Care Commission for Personal Support Workers and Home Care Workers.
  • New guidance from the Aging and People with Disabilities program on limiting exposure to COVID19 for implementation in all nursing facilities.
  • ODDS created a web page with COVID19 guidance and information for case managers, providers and the general public.

We appreciate your hard work. I know we all have the health and safety of the people we support, as well as our coworkers, friends, and loved ones, top of mind. Thank you for your diligence and for prioritizing this important work.

OCDD: Live TogetherWork TogetherLearn TogetherBetter Together

OCDD works toward a world where all communities welcome and value people with disabilities and their families.

Our Stories

People with disabilities are at the heart of OCDD’s mission and work. Watch the videos below to see how these talented Oregonians contribute to the communities where we all live, work, and play.

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