Back in the early 2000’s, a few members of the NAMI Multnomah Board of Directors visited Alliance House in Salt Lake City, UT and learned about the positive impact clubhouses can have on their community. Their desire to do more to support their sons and daughters who were struggling with the devastating impact of mental health issues led their determination to establish a clubhouse in Portland.
With the help of the Addictions and Mental Health Division of Multnomah County, NAMI Multnomah was able to realize its dream of opening a clubhouse in September 2010. The name NorthStar was selected by the original members, staff and director. People with mental health conditions of all types were drawn to this program because it provided meaningful structure and activity, supportive and enduring relationships, and assistance obtaining critical resources and employment. What made the clubhouse unique was the warm, supportive peer-driven environment in which the usual stigmatizing and hierarchical relationships with professionals did not exist. Participants were not clients, but rather members, and members became empowered to participate in all aspects of running the program alongside peers and staff.
In 2014, NorthStar became too large to continue under the auspices of NAMI Multnomah. In that year, NorthStar sought and found a much larger and established mental health and housing provider to become its auspice organization – Luke Dorf Inc. At NorthStar Clubhouse we are continually looking to grow our membership and partner with community organizations in order to make positive and lasting impacts on the greater Portland community.