Former refugee, city employee says all immigrants welcome at Por - KPTV - FOX 12

Former refugee, city employee says all immigrants welcome at Portland parks

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A former refugee, who now works for Portland Parks and Recreation, wants all immigrants to know they are welcome in Portland parks.

“Come and join us. Our facilities are safe.”

When Som Subedi was a little boy, his family escaped an oppressive government in Bhutan and they lived in a refugee camp for 20 years. But finally in 2006, Subedi moved to Portland. He’s been a full time employee at Portland Parks and Rec for more than 2 years now and he’s on a mission - to get more immigrants and refugees to take advantage of park facilities.

Subedi says foreigners can often feel scared to gather on city or government property because of their past. But with “We Welcome All” posters up all around the city and ongoing outreach with refugee groups, Subedi hopes the message is getting through.

“I’m a former refugee too and I came through the same process like you,” said Subedi. “So you are part of us.  So welcome to Portland. It’s not only refugees, we welcome everybody to our facilities.”

In July, Portland Parks and Rec is hosting World Refugee Day and World Cup Soccer is coming back. Subedi hopes those events will get even more new Portlanders involved in park activities.

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