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'!)
• Reminder that TODAY marks two very important events: 1) It's beloved Blazer Damian Lillard's birthday, and 2) Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's new mandates kick in across the state regarding face masks (wear them outside when you can't socially distance) and no indoor gatherings with more than 10 people. (Nobody wants to come to your COVID wedding.)
• We've all heard that the region's positive coronavirus cases may be undercounted due to a lack of testing and a large number of asymptomatic people—but officials are now suspecting that the number of COVID-related deaths may have been undercounted as well.
Oregon health leaders say 244 people have died of COVID-19 in the state. But hundreds of pandemic-related fatalities may have been uncounted in the Pacific Northwest.https://t.co/kKKzaMMRqf— OPB (@OPB) July 15, 2020
• The Oregon legislature has approved more than $200 million in COVID-related funding for small businesses, those still waiting on unemployment checks, and financial help for music & arts venues, as well as people of color. Check out our story for more details.
• Meanwhile, Portland City Council has a tenuous idea on how to allocate $114 million in COVID-related relief funds to various local businesses and communities—however not everyone is on board with the current plan. Our Alex Zielinski has more.
• Tomorrow the Metro Council will vote on whether or not to refer a $5 billion transportation funding measure to the November ballot which will fund a wide range of projects across the region. Our Blair Stenvick has the details!
• Federal officers sent to Portland by Trump once again gassed, arrested, and fired munitions at mostly peaceful protesters last night outside of the Justice Center. State lawmakers and the majority of city council members are furious about this, while Mayor Ted Wheeler... well, "furious" is not a word I would use.
For folks asking "who are these guys?":— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) July 15, 2020
Four federal law enforcement agencies including U.S. Marshals, Federal Protective Service, Customs & Border Protection & Homeland Security Investigations have rotated officers through Portland since early July. https://t.co/zMnoSAivXT
• SPEAKING OF WHICH: The Mercury's Alex Zielinski wrote a banger of a new Hall Monitor column yesterday that sharply points out Mayor Ted Wheeler's seeming resistance to protecting peaceful protesters against Portland Police and federal officers. Don't miss it!
• Portland Public Schools will be changing the name of Woodrow Wilson High School, named after the president that was an ally of the Ku Klux Klan and promoted segregation. Students will take the lead in helping decide the school's next name.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Dr. Anthony Fauci, after remaining mostly silent as the Trump administration actively sought to discredit him, has finally been forced to speak out after a bullshit editorial was written by White House trade advisor Peter Navarro that cast doubts on Fauci's expertise. "I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that," Fauci said about the administration. "I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it's only reflecting negatively on them."
Breaking News: After public attacks from Trump aides, Dr. Anthony Fauci made his most pointed remarks yet to address tensions with the White House. “Let’s stop this nonsense,” he said. https://t.co/Xjw7uO10Zc pic.twitter.com/P4ipIHGhwv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 15, 2020
• Meanwhile as Trump tries to silence the most trusted virus expert in America, here's what's happening across the country: 65,000 new cases were reported yesterday; Oklahoma's governor has tested positive for COVID; Walmart is requiring all customers to wear masks in their stores, with all Kroger stores to do the same starting July 22; and Ivanka Trump is telling 18 million unemployed Americans that they should try "something new" to make money.
• In a bald-faced attempt to screw with true virus numbers to help the president's campaign, state health authorities are being ordered to send local coronavirus data straight to the Trump administration, bypassing the CDC.
• Stop freaking out, everybody! RUTH BADER GINSBERG IS HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL and doing fine.
• More good news: According to a new Quinnipiac University national poll, Joe Biden has taken a 15 point lead over Trump in the upcoming election, which is nice even while I know that getting my hopes up now will only crush my soul later. But still!
In a historic move, the Asheville City Council has unanimously approved reparations for Black residents. "It is simply not enough to remove statutes," a councilman said. https://t.co/b2EXJvzLPH
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 15, 2020
• A headline that should be of no surprise to anyone: "Black applicants faced discrimination in securing PPP loans, study finds."
• Rapper Megan Thee Stallion revealed in an Instagram post that she was shot during an unspecified "crime committed against" her on Sunday night. She reportedly went to the hospital to have the bullets removed, and is recovering.
• WEATHER TIME: Mostly sunny for the next couple days and cooler, but heating up again for the weekend!
• And finally, here's your reminder to dance like no one is watching—and like every phone is ringing.
Ok, so this bird doing multiple dances to different alarm ringtones is definitely the Twitter content I’m here for.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) July 15, 2020