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Death Cafes Find Home In Portland

David Boté / Flickr

Death is a fact of life. Yet, according to Holly Pruett, it remains a taboo subject. Everyone knows it happens, but no one wants to talk about it. That is where Pruett’s PDX Death Cafe comes in.

Developed by Londoners Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid in Sept. 2011, Death Cafes quickly spread throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Their mission is to create a different kind of culture surrounding death. People — often strangers — gather at a local venue to discuss anything on their minds about death — all while eating cake and drinking coffee.

Portland held their first Death Cafe in spring 2013 and was met with an overwhelming response. Today, PDX Death Cafe still averages 70 to 100 participants at its events. It has quickly become the focal point for Death Cafes across the U.S.

Are you shy on the topic of death? Do you think Death Cafes are a good step towards helping change today’s culture? Have you attended a Death Cafe? What was your experience?


  • Jon Underwood: Founder of Death Cafe
  • Holly Pruett: Cofounder and Primary Organizer of PDX Death Cafe and Life-Cycle Celebrant
Portland death culture

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