DOJ and Port of Edmonds resolve complaint regarding violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Seattle – The U.S. Department of Justice and the Port of Edmonds, Washington have resolved a complaint that the Port violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it altered the parking lot at the Port marina and failed to provide appropriate accessible parking spaces, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  As part of the settlement, the Port of Edmonds will pay a complainant $3,522 for discrimination and inability to use the marina.

“This resolution is a good reminder that federal law requires full and equitable access. It is not enough to simply designate a parking space with a blue accessible parking marker—that space must also have special characteristics that will allow those with mobility issues to enjoy full access,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Once our office became involved, the Port of Edmonds quickly reconfigured their spaces with appropriate space and access aisles so that the spaces were usable by those using assistive devices such as walkers or wheelchairs.”

According to the settlement agreement, in February 2021, the Port of Edmonds reconfigured its parking lot and constructed a dumpster area where accessible parking had been.  Soon after the work, the complainant notified the Port of Edmonds that the new configuration violated the ADA.  Nevertheless, the Port did not make any changes. 

On August 12, 2021, a representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office viewed the North and South parking areas at the marina. The review found multiple violations of the ADA including a lack of aisle space next to the accessible parking spaces, and no designated van accessible parking spaces.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office concluded the parking area did not comply with the ADA. 

After receiving notice of non-compliance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Port of Edmonds quickly made changes. By August 31, 2021, the Port reconfigured its parking areas to include accessible spaces with access aisles and designated van accessible areas.  The accessible parking spaces were moved to shorten the distance to Port facilities.

The Port has agreed to designate an ADA coordinator, and place signs throughout its facilities identifying the ADA coordinator and how he or she can be contacted.  The coordinator will be responsible for investigating any complaints regarding discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

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The Port will pay the complainant who could not use Port facilities $3,522 and agrees in the settlement not to retaliate in any way against anyone who brings a complaint regarding ADA access.

The Port of Edmonds will certify its compliance with the ADA to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will monitor compliance for two years following the settlement.  If no further issues arrive, the matter will be closed.

The matter was investigated and resolved by former Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Morehead and subsequently by Assistant United States Attorney Heather Costanzo.