Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)
• After weeks of screaming and yelling from activists about how Oregon prisoners are being kept in COVID death traps with little to no protection, today Gov. Kate Brown commuted the sentences of 57 medically vulnerable adults in custody—which many agree is too little, too late. Our Alex Zielinski has more.
"Quite frankly, it's a bit insulting," said a former inmate about Brown's order.
"I mean, come on, there’s way more than 57 sick and seriously vulnerably people in ODOC. She's essentially saying that it's okay if those other people die in prison."https://t.co/P0HvErxQ3O
— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) June 25, 2020
• The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has been getting help from outside law enforcement agencies to help with protests over the last month, which isn't great from a police accountability standpoint. And it turns out PPB also isn't keeping track of which agencies provide assistance—or at least, wouldn't provide that information.
• Related: Former Portland police chief Danielle Outlaw (who was never a champion for measured, thoughtful police protest response during her tenure) has apologized on the behalf of the Philadelphia police department which she now leads, for tear gassing trapped protesters during a recent march.
Hours after we published our visual investigation into the June 1 protests in Philadelphia, the mayor and police commissioner announced a moratorium on the use of tear gas in the city on Thursday, and apologized for their response. https://t.co/HJCPEBaO9P pic.twitter.com/kLlj4DLjES— Nilo Tabrizy (@ntabrizy) June 25, 2020
• In "WILLFUL WHITE IGNORANCE" news: A Clark County official actually said these words aloud: “I do not agree that we have systemic racism in our county. Period.”
• In related "WILLFUL WHITE IGNORANCE" news: After Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced the mandatory wearing of masks for everyone in the state, Lewis County Sheriff Robert Snaza told a crowd “Don’t be a sheep.” (Now there's a cop who should definitely be defunded.)
• TriMet has released their new budget which reflects the severe impact that COVD-19 has had on local public transportation. Check out our Blair Stenvick's story for the details.
• Boo! Le Bistro Montage, the height of both late-night dining and foil-animals in Portland, announced yesterday that it is closing permanently. Here's Suzette Smith with a proper send-off.
• Yay! The University of Oregon plans to rename Deady Hall, a campus building named after a white colonizer who supported slavery. The building will be called University Hall until the school can start a formal renaming process next school year.
• Portland born rapper Animé has dropped his new video "Riri" which is an ode to "Black joy" in this time of turmoil. Jasmyne Keimig has more, and you can watch it here!
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Another 1.5 million people declared unemployment this past weekand people are starting to finally wake up to the fact that state unemployment offices aren't handling the influx of claims very well. (Like in this New York Times article that features a Portland man who filed in March and still hasn't seen a single check.)
• COVID-19 relief efforts might have been more effective if the federal government employed officials who weren't tragically inept. For example, there's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversaw the disbursement of $1.4 billion dollars in relief funds to 1.1 million dead people.
• CDC Director Robert Redfield told reporters today that the increases and spikes we're seeing nationwide aren't representative of what's really happening out there. In fact, we're probably handling this even worse than we thought. How much worse? Try 10 TIMES worse. "Our best estimate right now is that of every case that's reported, there are actually 10 other infections."
• Texas, one of the first states to begin reopening and thus one of the first states to see its infection rate skyrocket, is pausing further reopening efforts.
All of President Trump's campaign staffers who attended his rally in Tulsa on Saturday are quarantining this week after interacting with several colleagues who later tested positive for coronavirus, CNN has learned https://t.co/xQaJHtb9px
— CNN (@CNN) June 25, 2020
• A judge has put the kibosh on Trump's weak sauce attempts to stop the publication of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump, the president's niece who (as it turns out) is not his biggest fan!
• Long running country music trio, the Dixie Chicks, have dropped the "Dixie" from their name and are now just calling themselves "The Chicks," saying "We want to meet this moment."
• Related: Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell are stepping away from their voice-acting gigs on the animated series Big Mouth and Central Park, with Slate putting it as plainly as possible: "Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people."
• According to a Harvard Kennedy School study, consuming far-right media strongly correlates with people's low levels of concern as the pandemic began, and in fact, infection and mortality rates are higher in places where Sean Hannity's audience numbers are at their largest.
• You need some guaranteed laughs, right? Then don't miss the I, ANONYMOUS SHOW, livestreaming into your home TOMORROW Friday, June 26, and featuring loads of unhinged true confessions and rants as well as a hot-shit lineup of nationally beloved comics including Mohanad Elshieky, Maggie Maye, and Josh Gondelman! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!
• And finally... pairing Parks and Recreation public meetings with current, real life public meetings is perfection!