Celebrate New Year's without the booze, at the Sobriety Powwow in Portland – OregonLive.com
Finding a New Year’s Eve party without any alcohol can be a challenge, to say the least. But for the last 30 years, those seeking a dry celebration have found a great safe haven at the Oregon Convention Center, host of the New Year’s Eve Sobriety Powwow.
Run by the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest – a local nonprofit that provides education, physical and mental health services and substance abuse treatment aimed at native communities – the powwow is meant to provide a safe and welcoming environment for anyone trying to stay away from alcohol during the booziest day of the year.
The event is free and open to the public, starting at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31 and running through midnight into Jan. 1. Native dancers and drummers will be the highlight of the powwow, which will also include presentations from other cultures.
“NARA has had a tremendous impact working with the community in creating a clean and sober community, and you can see it and feel it when you come to the powwow,” NARA chief executive Jackie Mercer told the Oregonian in 2011. “If you want to measure the success of NARA, come to the powwow.”
It’s a big deal for the Native American community, which has historically faced trouble with alcohol. A 2008 study found that nearly 12 percent of all deaths in the native community could be attributed to alcohol – more than three times the general population at the time.
Drinking – across all cultures – is particularly popular in Oregon, which in 2013 ranked sixth among all states (including top-ranked Washington, D.C.) in alcohol consumption, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Revelers in Portland will surely carry that torch as we enter the new year, but for the masses that will once again flock to the Oregon Convention Center, it will be a very sober start to 2016.
Alcohol, recreational drugs and commercial tobacco are not allowed at the powwow.
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30th NEW YEAR’S EVE SOBRIETY POWWOW
When: Dec. 31, at 1 p.m., into Jan. 1
Where: Oregon Convention Center (map it)