Today marks 23 years since Oregon voters first approved the Death with Dignity Act, our nation’s first assisted dying statute. For the next three years, the law was embroiled in the judicial system, as the opponents challenged the will of the people of Oregon in courts. The law went into effect on October 27, 1997, and a few days later, on November 4, Oregonians soundly rejected a repeal measure.

We remembered these historic events of two decades ago at a celebration luncheon in Portland, Oregon. The event took place on the premises of First Unitarian Church, which had hosted the offices of both the 1994 and 1997 campaigns.

In addition to stories by George Eighmey, our board president; Governor Barbara Roberts; Eli Stutsman; Peg Sandeen; and Deborah Ziegler, we premiered a short video showcasing why our work is important:

We were pleased to work with Portland photographer Nina Johnson to record the event for posterity. All photos © Nina Johnson.

Geoff Sugerman (left), 1994/1997 campaign manager; Eli Stutsman (right), Oregon Right to Die founder, lead author of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and our board member
Board President George Eighmey with Deborah Ziegler.
George with Governor Barbara Roberts.
Death with Dignity National Center executive director Peg Sandeen (center) with board members (from left) Carol Pratt, George Eighmey, Deborah Ziegler, and Eli Stutsman.