Hands Across the Bridge (HAtB)

Eighteen years ago, Patty Katz and Louise Wedge, two long-time friends in recovery, read an article about National Recovery Month (NRM) and realized people all over the United States were celebrating their personal recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. They thought it would be great to stand on top of a bridge at daybreak to celebrate that they were not under the Bridge in their addictions. As members of the Recovery Association Project they brought this conversation to other members and this conversation marked the beginning of Hands Across the Bridge, an ongoing collaboration between persons in recovery in Oregon and Washington, who come together every September to celebrate National Recovery Month on the I-5 Bridge, which unites the two states.

In April of 2010 they branched off and became a Non Profit 501c3 called Hands Across the Bridge Project.

From humble beginnings Hands Across the Bridge has now become the largest National Recovery Month event west of the Mississippi, with more than 3,000 people expected to attend this year, including, local elected officials, faith-based leaders, recovery community organizations, allied service providers and thousands of people from the recovery community in WA and OR.

Hands Across the Bridge is a 501c3 corporation governed by a board of directors whom identify as persons in recovery. Each year our event is underwritten through the generous support of community partners that include major treatment centers, social service providers and local governments like Multnomah and Clark Counties. Beyond our event we also work throughout the year to develop leaders in the recovery community through advocacy and leadership development trainings. Our experience has shown us time and again that when people in recovery find their voice real change can happen!

HAtB + Oxfest

For the past several years Hands Across the Bridge has joined forces with Oxfest, a day-long celebration of recovery from addiction in Esther Short Park in Vancouver, WA, that follows our event on the bridge. Oxfest is sponsored by Oxford Houses of Oregon and Washington, a network of self-governed, self-supported sober houses for men and women in recovery. Oxfest is truly fun for the whole family, including live bands, delicious food vendors, family-friendly activities and games, raffles, and much more. Both events are free for anyone in recovery, their families, supporters, and other community members.