I was thrilled when the ADA was implemented in 1992. After more than 25 years as a wheelchair user, I was sick of fighting stairways, inaccessible restroom stalls, and job discrimination. But it didn’t take long to discover that very few nondisabled people knew the law existed. And most of those who did know thought of the ADA as an optional “special consideration.”
One of those people was Paul Allen, the billionaire owner of the Portland Trailblazers pro basketball team. In 1993, Allen began construction on the Rose Garden, the Trailblazers basketball arena. Local disability advocates had pointed out prior to the beginning of construction that multiple ADA violations would follow if it went forward as planned. Allen, normally an agreeable man, ignored their warnings.