Since forming in May 1999, DASH – Disability Awareness Starts Here! – has successfully employed community advocacy and education to improve access to public places and programs in Jefferson County, and to educate the community about why and how good access makes sense for everyone. DASH has been a resource for both public and private entities in Jefferson County who rely on DASH for expert input on how to meet the need for accessibility.

Throughout the years, DASH has been instrumental in improving access to streets and sidewalks, trails and paths, public buildings, office space and even parking lots and restrooms. DASH works with the City of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, the Port of Port Townsend, police and sheriff departments, Jefferson Healthcare, many local restaurants and businesses, Port Townsend Library, Key City Players, Fort Worden, Centrum, the local school districts, 4-H, local churches, Jefferson Transit and the Port Townsend Arts Commission, to name but a few.

DASH has sponsored community forums and workshops on a wide variety of topics related to accessibility and ADA requirements. Past topics include accessible recreation, available tax benefits to businesses that improve access, access to the arts, access laws applicable to new construction, changes in state laws, walkable communities, accessibility issues related to law enforcement, service animals and people first language. Eight annual DASH Assume-a-Disability Events have made it possible for elected officials, staff of public agencies and community leaders to directly experience what it is like to get around our community with a variety of disabilities.

DASH free publications include a Map of Accessible Port Townsend for people who use mobility aides, a Disability-Friendly Restaurants Guide and Accessible Entertainment Venues Guide; recent updates are available in both print and online versions.  Starting in 2016 we are extending our publications to include guides to accessible recreation. We will evaluate accessible walking trails and publish the results.

All DASH publications start with on-site accessibility evaluations using ADA guidelines.  All DASH services and publications are provided without cost.

If you would like to join the DASH team, find out how DASH can help, or learn how you can support DASH’s efforts, please contact Pat Teal, DASH President, at 360-385-1790.