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'!)
• Welp, Portland has once again become the epicenter of Trump-base outrage following a scolding (and grammatically incorrect) press release from Acting Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Chad "CHAD!" Wolf, who accused city leaders of ignoring local police who are “under siege” by a “violent mob” of "anarchists" (AKA mostly peaceful protesters). IT IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS and our Alex Zielinski has the full story.
• IN VERY ALARMING NEWS, federal officers have reportedly been grabbing Portland protesters off the streets and whisking them away in unmarked cars. One of these protesters, Mark Pettibone, was grabbed, thrown in an unmarked vehicle, and taken to the
Justice Center Federal Courthouse where federal officers detained him and refused to say why. Then for no particular reason they released him, and later told OPB that Pettibone had not been arrested... soooooo... they kidnapped him? Again, ALARMING.
Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end. pic.twitter.com/PE4YfZ9Vqd
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 16, 2020
• Related: Law enforcement experts seem to think that there's no way that a federal officer meant to shoot peaceful protester Donavan La Bella in head with a munition last weekend. They opined that he probably meant to fire a "torso shot"—but does that matter? No, because they hit him in the fucking head.
• 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 or impress the visiting head of Homeland Security Chad "CHAD!" Wolf, definitely not that.
An update from Mayor @tedwheeler: "We are aware that the acting secretary of DHS and his staff are in town. We wish they weren’t. We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were to be, we would decline the offer."
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) July 16, 2020
• Your tax dollars at work:
WATCH - Portland Police officers knock a protester off of his bicycle and arrest him outside of Lownsdale Square Park near the Federal Courthouse downtown #LiveOnK2 pic.twitter.com/tow0GzeyzW
— Dan McCarthy (@DanMcKATU) July 16, 2020
• There was another very big, worrying jump in positive coronavirus infections in Oregon, with a whopping 437 cases being reported, along with two additional deaths. WEAR YA DAMN MASKS (correctly), WASH YA DAMN HANDS, AND KEEP YA DAMN DISTANCE.
• A new lawsuit is claiming that an Oregon construction company faked temperature readings to make sure that sick employees would be able to stay on the job during the COVID crisis. Our Blair Stenvick has more.
• In order to save school funding that's been gutted during the COVID pandemic, Oregon lawmakers are looking at closing two prisons to save money. This is a good idea. Another idea might be for all of us who really care about education to get behind instituting a state sales tax? DON'T KILL ME.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• The US, England, and Canada are accusing Russian (and in particular, Kremlin) hackers of trying to steal private coronavirus vaccine information.
The Supreme Court's conservative majority has worked for years to prevent Black and Brown people from voting, because keeping People of Color away from the polls is a key to GOP electoral victories.https://t.co/bKjp9pVsg4
— Aaron Belkin (@AaronBelkin) July 16, 2020
• At least 15 women have filed sexual harassment claims against people who worked for that NFL team in Washington with the racist name.
• Here is a story that I'm pretty sure is directed at me personally: "Pompeo says protesters and mainstream media are attacking American way of life." I feel seen!
• Trump's plans for a YUUUUGE GOP convention in Jacksonville are being slowly whittled down and restricted as attending participants don't want to... you know... die.
Almost one-third of Florida children tested are positive for the coronavirus. "They are seeing there is damage to the lungs in these asymptomatic children." https://t.co/NQaj64RSr8
— Jay Miranda (@jaymiranda_) July 16, 2020
• Governors in Colorado and Arkansas are now issuing statewide mask requirements. In other mask news, retailers Target, CVS, and Publix will be requiring masks in all their stores nationwide following on the heels of Walmart, Kroger, and Kohl's.
• Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (who voter-suppressed his way through his last election) is not only prohibiting Georgia cities and counties from requiring people to wear masks, now he's actually suing the City of Atlanta over the city's mask mandate.
• American military leaders are pressuring Defense Secretary Mark Esper to ban the display of Confederate flags at Defense Department buildings, which is (surprise!) being opposed by the racist White House.
• WEATHER TIME: Cloudier and cooler tomorrow with a high of 78, but a sunny, warm weekend lies ahead.
• And finally, because I figure you really need this... FROLICKING PORTLAND GOATS.