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Hey sweet friends,

As I write this, it’s been two months since the COVID-19 crisis arrived in Portland, and frankly, I feel like I’ve aged a thousand years. How are you feeling? I hope you know that—no matter who you are—you are in my thoughts every day. If you’re currently unemployed, or employed and out of your mind with worry, I want you to take the following words and lock them tight inside your heart: You are worthy. You are not your job. You deserve happiness that’s not tied in any way to a paycheck.

It’s probably easy for me to talk—I have job right now. But honestly, that fact doesn’t bring me much solace these days. Mostly what I feel is guilt, and deep frustration over a situation that’s out of my control.

This week the Mercury had to permanently lay off a few of our beloved employees who were previously on temporary furlough. We were hoping in the early days of the crisis that we’d be able to ride it out for a couple of months, and that our situation would improve to the point where we could bring home all of our loyal, wildly talented employees. However, with no clear date as to when restaurants, bars, and performance venues will eventually reopen, the bulk of our advertising revenue, and our ability to pay a full staff of workers, remains largely non-existent.

If there is any “good” news here, it’s that we were able to provide severance packages for our laid off employees that will hopefully keep them above water for a decent amount of time. Second bit of good news: Thanks to your donations, we were able to bring one editorial employee back to work, which means you’ll be getting even more of the progressive, thoughtful journalism the Mercury is famous for producing.

So yeah… life is a bit of a roller coaster right now! However, while we’re hanging in there, our situation and ability to continue serving you is in serious flux. While we’re still developing new money-generating side-hustles—such as our livestream I, Anonymous comedy show, film fests (like HUMP! and the Confinement Film Fest), and advertiser supported programs like our popular “Takeout Tuesday”—so much of our survival depends on YOU.

I have a very strong feeling that the next couple of months will be critical for both of us, so I’m going to make you a promise: The Mercury will continue working tirelessly for you. I hope you’ll return the favor and throw a little bit of support our way in the form of a recurring monthly donation. Trust me: Your generosity is neither wasted or taken for granted. You have never and will never owe us anything. Though if you can help us get through this crisis, we will repay you by recommitting ourselves to supporting those in our community who are in far worse circumstances than the rest of us.

They need our help, and to provide it, we need your help. So please, if you’re able, please donate to the Mercury. Thank you—you are the BEST. You’re the one who gives me hope. You’re the one who makes me want to get up every day and fight. And you’re the one who deserves a world that respects and values you. As for me, your value has never been in question.

Support The Portland Mercury

I adore ya, and will talk to ya again soon! Promise!

Yer always pal,

Wm. Steven Humphrey
Portland Mercury