"I’ve traveled and stayed in different cities and states and I just love Portland. It’s just the right amount of busyness and just the right amount of calm. Within minutes, you can feel like you’re in the forest or be in the middle of downtown."
I’m from: East Jerusalem
Now I live in: Beaumont/Northeast Portland
Job: Program Manager of Adult Protective Services for the Department of County Human Services
With the county since: 1996
When did you come to the United States? Aug. 4, 1986. You remember it because it’s a tough day. They kept looking at my visa and they kept looking at it with a lot of suspicion. Being naive, I said, “What’s the matter? Don’t you trust your ambassador?” She looked at me sternly and said,“If you say one more word, I’ll send you back to Jerusalem.”
Who did you come with? I came sponsored by an organization called Good Samaritan Ministries. It was an interfaith, intercultural group that wanted everybody to get along. They paid for my room and board, my plane ticket, and gave me a $100 stipend each month.
Why did you stay? I only came to train and to work, but with the war in Jerusalem, I ended up staying here. Both parents were dead and I didn’t feel there was any place for me to go.
For awhile, I didn’t know what to do. At the time, I stayed with the international executive and founder of the organization. When my parents died, she said, “I’m not going to replace parents.” But she asked if I wanted to stay.
She later ended up adopting me. Her name is Betty Mitchell. For a short period of time, I went by Mohammad Bader-Mitchell. I had known her for two or three years at the time. She was connected culturally, she knew my family and she was a friend of my parents. Now, I have three American sisters. They are really great people.
How do you help people? I ensure that seniors and people with disabilities are protected and safe from harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation. I help provide services for seniors who are unable to get social and health services.
Why do you come back everyday? I just have a heart for vulnerable people.
Why Portland? It’s a place that afforded me freedom and opportunity and inspired me. I’ve traveled and stayed in different cities and states and I just love Portland. It’s just the right amount of busyness and just the right amount of calm. Within minutes, you can feel like you’re in the forest or be in the middle of downtown.
On the nightstand: I read "The Crying Tree." It’s part fiction, part real, about a family that lives in Oregon. Their son gets murdered. It was an interesting, touching story. It had to do with the mom meeting the person who committed the crime and having conversations with him. It talked a lot about forgiveness.
What do you do for yourself? I read a lot of poetry and I write poetry. I’m trying to publish a book of poetry myself, but I get cold feet. I am hoping to get my collection of poetry done by December 2011. It’s going to be a compilation of 20-something years of poetry looking at various aspects of life, ranging from love, to war, to funny things.