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'!)
• MUST READ OF THE DAY: Our Alex Zielinski interviewed an Oregon Employment Department worker, one of many who are bravely attempting to process 70,000 unpaid PUA claims—however, the back up of claims is so overwhelming, this worker was told by managers to lie to callers about their application status.
• As part of the ongoing, nationwide bout of self-reflection, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University have mutually agreed to stop referring to their annual football contest as "the Civil War." No official name has been announced to replace it, but suggestions so far include "Oregon State's Annual Football Wedgie," "The Platypus Bowl," and "The War of ORthern Aggression." Or how about simply, "IT'S ABOUT GODDAMN TIME."
• On the anniversary of the cop-inflicted death of George Floyd, last night marked another evening of violence as more than 100 protesters demonstrated near the North Precinct on MLK Blvd until the early hours of the morning. A barricade was built in the middle of the street and set aflame as police indiscriminately fired various munitions at crowd (including pepper balls, flash bangs, the hard foam bullets that split open the head of a demonstrator last weekend, and some type of gas). Tuck Woodstock was on the scene, and has a detailed recap of the evening.
Also, I cannot emphasize enough that dozens of protesters were trying to extinguish that fire when PPB started pushing everyone out using tear gas, flash bangs and “less-lethal” impact munitions https://t.co/MNlC9FHZxT— Tuck Woodstock (@tuckwoodstock) June 26, 2020
• While parts of the state's police accountability legislation will survive, the Oregon legislature is substantially watering down proposals that would curb police violence, including not including absolute bans on tear gas and choke holds.
• According to the Oregon Health Authority, the number of positive coronavirus infections in the state took a big jump with 205 new cases since yesterday, and five additional deaths. As we go into the weekend, please remember that most new transmissions are occurring between friends and extended family members, sooooooo.... WASH YA DAMN HANDS, WEAR YA DAMN MASKS.
The latest #Oregon #coronavirus report indicates the state likely faces exponential increases in cases, with a tripling of #COVID19 hospitalizations by July 16: https://t.co/r4UQeJEK5w @ThePortlandTrib
— Nick Budnick (@NickBudnick) June 26, 2020
• One of the many businesses attempting to reopen during Oregon's current COVID-19 surge is the beloved, old-timey amusement park, Enchanted Forest. And even though there are A LOT of intense safety restrictions in place for attendees, the first weekend is already sold out. Our Wm. Steven Humphrey has some conflicted feelings about this.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
•The US set a new record of 40,000 positive coronavirus cases in one day, with five states (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah) also setting new single-day records. FREAKIN' YIKES.
The House of Representatives voted nearly along party lines on Friday to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., the first time a chamber of Congress has approved establishing the nation’s capital as a state https://t.co/whAXNHbDne— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) June 26, 2020
• In the middle of a pandemic that's setting daily records for new infections, the Trump administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court asking them to rule that the Affordable Care Act is illegal. Not just part of it—the whole thing. Reminder: There is no replacement for the ACA should it be struck down, and it would leave 23 million Americans without insurance.
• Today marked the first Coronavirus Task Force Briefing in TWO MONTHS, and it was led by (heavy sigh) Vice President Mike Pence. Would you be surprised to learn he couldn't even bring himself to utter the words "wear a mask"? Dr. Anthony Fauci followed Pence's sunny/deadly predictions with a reminder that the current outbreak in Southern and Western states could easily spread across the entire country unless we all start taking personal responsibility.
—@PaulaReidCBS to Pence: "It really does sound like you're saying, 'Do as we say, not as we do.' You're telling people to listen to local officials, but in Tulsa you defied local health officials...How can you say that the campaign is not part of the problem?" pic.twitter.com/96dkjow28L
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 26, 2020
• Florida, on the 19th day in a row of setting new COVID-19 infection records, jumped from 5,511 new cases on Wednesday to 8,942 on Thursday. In response, the state immediately re-closed all bars. Texas is doing the same in response to their surge, with Austin mayor Steve Adler predicting their current trajectory will lead to completely overwhelmed hospitals by mid-July.
It’s going to be weird when historians look back and conclude that Trump’s most enduring legacy was accidentally getting white people to care about racism and police abuse. https://t.co/LQojNlllyl— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) June 26, 2020
• After household goods company Unilever announced they were pulling advertising from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram through "at least the end of the year" due to the companies' soft approach to dealing with certain lying presidents and his racist, lying followers, Facebook's Mark Zucker made an abrupt about-face today saying the platform will remove posts that incite violence or attempt to suppress voting (even from lying presidents) and label posts that violate their rules. HUH. FUNNY HOW THAT ALL HAPPENED AT ONCE.
• One of the most heartbreaking, infuriating, and unforgivable examples of police brutality in recent memory concerns the story of Elijah McClain, who was assaulted by three Aurora, Colorado police on August 14, 2019, as he was on his way home from buying iced tea for his brother. They injected him with Ketamine after applying a carotid hold so strongly he began vomiting, and after 20 minutes his unconscious body was placed in an ambulance, where he suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital. McClain, known in his Aurora community for playing the violin to calm down shelter kittens, was taken off life support on August 30. The District Attorney declined to press charges, the three officers were placed on administrative leave for three months, and were eventually cleared of wrongdoing, returning to their jobs this past February. All that is prelude to this: Colorado Governor Jared Polis has ordered a special prosecutor to investigate Elijah's assault, and to criminally prosecute any individuals whose actions are determined to have caused his death.
• You need some guaranteed laughs, right? Then don't miss the I, ANONYMOUS SHOW, livestreaming into your home TONIGHT 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... A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.