Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)
• According to the Oregon Health Authority, the state took a big jump in new coronavirus cases, reporting 281 new infections (that's 100 more since yesterday), and one additional death. Related: Gov. Kate Brown's new STATEWIDE face mask mandate kicked off today, and she had a very stark message for Oregonians about what could happen if people do not wear their masks:
“Your actions will determine whether our businesses across the state can stay open,” Brown implored residents during an hour-long news conference. “And your actions will determine, frankly, whether we can open schools in the fall.”
So (all together now...) WASH YA DAMN HANDS, WEAR YA DAMN MASKS!
• Last night marked one of the most senselessly violent police responses in the past month of protests, when cops unleashed SO MUCH tear gas (in direct violation of a federal court order) on mostly peaceful protesters. Three journalists were also arrested for the crime of practicing their First Amendment rights.
Update from one of the reporters arrested last night: https://t.co/hUVJgTg2Td— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) July 1, 2020
• In an unusual move, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek spoke out against last night's police violence, saying their actions were "completely unacceptable." Read the entire FIRE Facebook post here.
• Related: The Mercury has joined other journalists and the ACLU in filing a temporary restraining order on the Portland Police Bureau to stop targeting, arresting, and harming reporters who are just trying to do their jobs safely. Our editor-in-chief Wm. Steven Humphrey explains why it's so important.
• Don't Shoot PDX has chastised the City of Portland for refusing to reign in these tear gas-happy cops who are flagrantly defying a federal court order. Read more from our Alex Zielinski.
• Portland City Council has voted to extend its current contract with the Portland Police Association (the city's police union) by one year due to delays caused by the COVID pandemic. The delay (especially considering their current behavior) is causing legitimate concern, and our Alex Zielinski has more on that.
• Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Portland racial justice group Albina Vision Trust are pulling their support for the I-5 expansion after the Oregon Department of Transportation failed to come through with promised restorative justice measures. Our Blair Stenvick has more on the story.
• Soon after ducking out of the I-5 expansion deal, the Portland City Council joined other cities to adopt a climate emergency declaration, and devoted themselves to pursuing methods that could hopefully mitigate the disastrous impact.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says the freeway widening project in the Rose Quarter "will not proceed" without support of the area Black community. https://t.co/uYDBAT3WnH— OPB (@OPB) July 1, 2020
• Downtown taqueria Mi Mero Mole is closing permanently, and owner Nick Zukin blamed it on local officials who, in his mind, does nothing to help small businesses. Fair enough, that's his opinion. But then he added this sentence to his online rant: “All too often this city puts a knee to the back of its businesses’ necks while smiling and telling them to relax and that they’re fine.” His tone deaf comparison of losing his business to the murder of a Black man did not go over well, to say the least.
• At least 13 were arrested in Seattle yesterday as police began clearing out Capitol Hill's "CHOP" occupied zone.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Health officials nationwide are asking people to keep July 4 celebrations at home, the number of visitors small, and to stay safely socially distanced. They didn't go so far as to ask would-be revelers to rethink buying cheap cardboard-wrapped explosives out of a supermarket parking lot, but maybe consider not doing that too.
New Trump immigration policy would disqualify asylum for people from countries with spreading disease https://t.co/SjrV6Q5QwF— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 1, 2020
• The Stop Hate for Profit campaign—which specifically targets Facebook in response to (checks notes) being a hellpit of racism and journalism-destroying misinformation—turned two-weeks old today! In those two weeks, over 400 companies (including Coca-Cola, Adidas, and Ford) have joined the campaign, and have vowed to halt their advertising on the platform.
• New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to paint the words "Black Lives Matter" on Fifth Avenue, after pulling $1 billion in funds from the NYPD's budget. The proposed location of this painting just so happens to be on the same block that Trump Tower sits. Coincidence? Nope! "It's an important message to the whole nation, and obviously we want the president to hear it because he's never shown respect for those three words."
• The list of things our idiot president chooses to respect is pretty small, but it does include "Military Bases Named After Confederate Losers." In fact, he publicly threatened to veto the bipartisan Defense Authorization Bill solely on the basis that Senator Elizabeth Warren included a provision that would demand such bases be renamed.
• Oh hey, speaking of bad tributes to history's villains: The mayor of Richmond, Virginia invoked emergency powers and ordered the removal of all confederate statues on city land. Work crews immediately began work dismantling a statue of Stonewall Jackson.
Overheard at the Stonewall Jackson removal “Ma’am, I’m a history teacher I can confirm he’s a piece of shit”
— Nick Gehman (@PopeNicholasVI) July 1, 2020
• Also today: Virginia's "Crown Act" goes into effect, making them the first Southern state (and fourth overall) to legally ban employers from discriminating against Black people who choose to wear their hair naturally, or styled in "braids, locks, and twists."
• The Senate, in a rare example of actually getting work done despite the existence of Mitch McConnell, managed to extend the expiration of the Paycheck Protection Program through August 8. Had they not done so, the program would have expired July 1 with over $130 billion still unused.
• And finally, think 2020 is fucked up? Well, it is... but this is also fucked up!