A view on Oden's comments about Portland from an immigrant perspective

Two things:

Two years ago I had to put my old girl Gracie, the smartest and most gentle border collie ever, to sleep.

Her health had been deteriorating for years and it got to the point where it was the only choice left.

To this day it pains me to talk about it, as there is a certain bond that caring for an injured/sick animal creates.

So, I feel for Greg on that one, especially because doggie ended up dying in an accident. He probably blames himself for it, too.

On the other hand, I find myself kind of irked at the comments made about Portland.

I have been just two years older than Greg when I moved to Portland from Serbia. I come from mixed religious family with my dad being Croatian and my mom Serbian. During the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, I had family members die on all three sides(including Bosnians Muslims), and even worse I have experienced a kind of bullying and prosecution that Steven King’s books are built on.

I can count on one hand the amount of people in Portland that speak my language, or have any connection to my culture.

Still, I have never felt isolated or alone. Not for a second. Life and your surroundings are what you make them.

Was I in situations to hear people mumble behind my back about immigrants? You bet.

Were there times when people were making fun of my accent? Sure?

But, guess what? You can find idiots like that in every corner of the globe. This is not something that is indigenous to Portland, Belgrade or any other city in the world.

You hold you head high and strive to be the best possible person you can. For every idiot that crosses your way there are hundreds of great, open people that you can connect to and share a part of your journey with.

Hey, this is Portland. People that I used to read as a kid, half across the globe, are my neighbors now. Lucius Sheppard, Ursula, Chuck.

We’re the world’s capital of bizzaro literature, beer and celebrated weirdness. We love our Blazers, just as much as Grobari love Partizan back in Serbia. You can’t buy that.

I am proud of where I live, and would not trade a cloudy day in Portland for all the sun of California(or Florida)…

…and I will be there in Rose Garden next year, no matter what the backgrounds of the players on our team are and no matter how many games we win or lose.

This is our home team. These are the trying times. The way I was raised, you stand behind them now more than ever.

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