Our organized effort to improve outdated and ill-considered state liquor laws that prevented people under 21 from fully participating in our local creative culture is at the center of our advocacy effort. At the heart of the issue: all-ages access to arts and culture through logical and effective approaches to teen safety and alcohol control.
Our activism efforts played out through personal testimonies and letter-writing campaigns directed to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Not only did the campaign demonstrate our support for young musicians and music-lovers, it also unified and engaged our local arts community. Hundreds of elected officials, educators, musicians, small business owners, students, and parents wrote letters to effect meaningful change through this issue.
The proposed changes meant more all-ages shows in Portland, and all of Oregon. They meant teenagers would have safe, fun, positive recreational options, and increased opportunity to become active in local music communities as fans, performers, and organizers.
Thanks to a resounding community voice, the new rules were unanimously passed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in April of 2008. The changes, put into effect in June of that year, have allowed Portland’s music and arts venues more freedom in crafting specialized liquor control plans, which help ensure the continued vibrancy, diversity, and prosperity of our city’s music community.
While this marked a large milestone for influencing change, it’s only inspired us to continue our efforts in guaranteeing all-ages accessibility to arts and music in Portland. Believe us, there’s still much more progress to be made when kids aren’t allowed on the dance floors at some venues.