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News Release
 
Celebration Planned for Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service (OTRS) 15th Year Anniversary with Sprint
 
January 10, 2008 (2008-001)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, Oregon.  Did you know a program offered by the Oregon Public Utility Commission recently reached a significant milestone?  In November 2007 the Commission marked 15 years of providing deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired Oregonians access to the nation's telephone system through a relay service from Sprint, who provides relay services in Oregon.   
 
The Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service, known as (OTRS) uses operators to assist telephone calls between deaf, hard of hearing, and speech disabled individuals and their hearing counterparts and vice versa. 
 
“Oregonians placed three quarters of a million relay calls over 12 months. We believe it is important to continue this strong commitment to providing a quality relay service which empowers the disabled and hearing communities to have the same opportunity as others to use the telephone in their daily life,” said Jon Cray, Manager of the Commission’s Residential Service Protection Fund (RSPF).
 
The Oregon Public Utility Commission and Sprint will celebrate the anniversary Friday, January 18, 2008 in Salem at the Mission Mill Dye House at 1313 Mill Street SE from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
 
Oregon was the 6th state in the nation to offer a telecommunications relay service before it was required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1992. 
 
The relay service is one of three telephone assistance programs funded by a RSPF fee that has been in effect since 1987. The law ensures that adequate and affordable telephone service is available to all Oregonians. The fee is 5 cents per telephone line.
 
The other two programs include the Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP) which loans specialized telephone equipment at no cost and with no income restrictions to eligible Oregonians who are deaf, hearing, vision, speech, or mobility impaired.  The other is the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program (OTAP).  Oregonians who receive qualifying benefits at or below the current federal poverty level may receive up to a $13.50 reduction in their monthly bill for local residential telephone service.
 
Information about the relay service and other programs is available at: RSPF
 
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