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“Into this wild beast tangle these men had been born without their consent, they had taken part in it because
they could not help it; that they were in jail was no disgrace to them, for the game had never been fair,
the dice were loaded.”
- Upton Sinclair, The Jungle -
We are not afraid of the monsters under the bed. The monsters have fought amongst themselves for decades and we’ve survived, we’ve kept our people who aren’t in the know safe and we’ve kept this city in one piece. We know what’s going on here in Portland can be bad sometimes but we know that what’s going on outside this city is worse. Keep Portland Weird isn’t just a slogan to promote the beautiful individuality and artistry here, it’s our rallying cry, our sword and shield because all the Weirdness and Weirdos are part of Portland too.
Everything comes with a price. During the War of the Four it was the fifth faction that suffered the most loss of life: mortals. Regular people slaughtered by werewolves, drained dry by vampires, and collateral damage in careless strikes of the shadow war. The price was paid and the Rose City Guild has come to power, taken a seat at the table, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep it- no matter how much it costs when the bill comes due yet again.
While other factions may have the numbers and formalized organizations, there are plenty of people in Portland who don’t answer to any of them- the one of a kind freaks and minor Talents who are mostly mortal still. Portland is home to a lot of weird things and the doors are always open to more so long as they’re willing to play ball with the rest.
Portland is comprised of a delicate balance of power and ideologies and when the balance is disturbed the city has risen up in protests and sometimes violence. Everyone is welcome no matter who or what they are, so long as they toe the line set by the status quo.
Children on a field trip watch the salmon run, their flesh deteriorating from their living bodies as they beat themselves against rocks in a macabre last battle upstream to lay their eggs where they first hatched. The children watch for hours in the cold as the fish, some almost as big as they are, fight to reach their spawning grounds before their bodies fail and fall to pieces. On the bus ride home they laugh as if they had seen nothing.
Your neighbors, your friends, even you, discuss proudly how progressive and open-minded you are, how different this place is from the rest of America - as they decline, we shake our heads, grateful to live in such a liberal utopia. Here, things are greener. Here, people are kinder. We don’t have dark secrets. You smile, because the state history curriculum doesn’t talk about the laws that stayed on book for far longer than we care to admit. You laugh, blissful in ignorance, perhaps in avoidance, of the fact that we are no better, no brighter, than anywhere else.
No one’s ever heard of your favorite band, because they don’t exist. You could’ve sworn they did, you had all their records - real records, on vinyl, you’re a collector - just last week, but they’re gone now. You try telling a friend to look them up, but you find yourself unable to remember their name.
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