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Good morning, Portland! Exciting news: The Mercury has decided to give away some of our vast fortune—just send us some bitcoin and we'll double it for you!
Alright, with that exciting business out of the way, here are the headlines.
• Portland City Council previewed a plan Wednesday to distribute $114 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds across city programs that support businesses, renters, and communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Our Alex Zielinski has more details for you.
• After another night of downtown protests, police are now closing the parks around the Multnomah County Justice Center, a popular gathering spot for protesters, until "a later date." Police claim they're closing the parks so they can clean up graffiti, and not because they want to quell the protests, definitely not that.
Per KATU, the protests—and aggressive arrests from police—were still going as of 6 am this morning:
• Metro Council will vote this afternoon on whether to refer a $5 billion transportation funding measure to the November ballot. Learn all about what the measure will fund—and the politics of pursuing a new tax post-COVID—in this piece from yours truly.
• The latest from Sen. Jeff Merkley's Q-Anon-believing Republican challenger:
Republican Jo Rae Perkins touts her experience as a ‘financial advisor, budget analyst, debt freedom counselor and personal banker’ as qualifications for US Senate. But KOIN 6 News learned she filed for bankruptcy twice and had her CFP credential revoked.https://t.co/IYwc0pJt8A— Hannah Ray Lambert (@TheHannahRay) July 15, 2020
• Oh, and here's another incompetent Republican story: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (who voter-suppressed his way through his last election) is prohibiting Georgia cities and counties from requiring people to wear masks, even as COVID-19 cases surge in his state.
• Joe Biden released a $2 trillion climate plan this week, and it's about as ambitious as could be hoped for in our current state of moderate, climate-avoiding political hell. His proposals include creating a "civilian climate corps" to build new green infrastructure, creating new jobs at electric vehicle plants, and more sustainable agriculture standards.
• From the AP:
"Mail deliveries could be delayed by a day or more under cost-cutting efforts being imposed by the new postmaster general. The plan eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and says employees must adopt a 'different mindset' to ensure the Postal Service’s survival during the coronavirus pandemic."
In other words: Now the goddamned mail doesn't even work!
• The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) recently disbanded its unit of school resource officers, or cops who are stationed in schools. Now, students from 18 other school districts across the state are fighting to get police officers out of their schools, too.
• Big mood: