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Good morning, Portland. As I anxiously gaze out my window at the blanket of smoke-fog (wait, does that make it smog?) that's saturated our city, I'm thinking of the thousands of people up and down the West Coast who no longer have a house to gaze out of. Knowing how to help those impacted by the fires, on top of a global pandemic, in the midst of a racial justice uprising, can feel overwhelming. Here are a few places to start: Donate to the Oregon Food Bank, Jackson County's virtual food drive, a Southern Oregon fire relief fund that's being matched by a local credit union, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley and/or Lane County (both also accepting item donations), the Salvation Army's wildfire response fund, or the Red Cross Cascades. The extremely poor air quality is also impacting Portlanders without a reliable house. Here's a way to support our houseless community. Now, the news:
- Oregon's Fire Marshal was put on leave—then resigned—on Saturday, after going into the Santiam Canyon's evacuation zone to search for an employee's family. The same day, a Clackamas County deputy was placed on leave for being captured on video blaming "antifa" for setting wildfires—a conspiracy theory being spread by right-wing trolls (but debunked by the FBI).
- In the past week, inmates from four different Oregon prisons threatened by fire have been evacuated and squeezed into other prison facilities. This move has only made life worse for the inmates, with dozens reporting terrible air quality, crowded facilities not adequately prepared for COVID-19, lack of access to critical medications, and no food.
- Yes, "climate change" is the correct answer to "Why is Oregon on fire?", but why is that? Here's a breakdown on why areas of Oregon that haven't seen fires for 100 years are now ablaze, and why we should expect more wildfires each year.
- Here's one good thing:
I just filed a sad story about a hemp farm that burned to the ground in Jamul last weekend. BUT its owner sent me a picture of its stubborn pig, Bruce, who refused to evacuate and survived 😭 pic.twitter.com/cBD6lVHyg5
— jackie bryant (@jacqbryant) September 12, 2020
- Another good thing: RAIN IS COMING TOMORROW (hopefully). That doesn't mean smoke is going away anytime soon, though.
- Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson is suing Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt for not dropping Gibson's "riot" charges, after Schmidt announced he'd be dismissing those charges for people arrested during recent protests. Thing is, Gibson's charges have noting to do with the racial justice protests—he's wanting amnesty for encouraging a street brawl in Northeast Portland on May 1, 2019. Seems... a little different?
- A in-depth report from the organization Physicians for Human Rights shows how frequently law enforcement officers shot "less-lethal" weapons at people's heads (a prohibited action) during recent US protests. Lucky us: Portland gets its own section!
- In completely normal news, the President of the United States said the extrajudicial killing of Michael Reinoehl by law enforcement was a form of "retribution." If you recall, Reinoehl was suspected of killing Aaron Danielson during a Trump rally in downtown Portland—but he had yet to be served a warrant when officers fatally shot him in early September.
- ICYMI: Amazon spent $24,000 lobbying Portland City Council to toss its ban on facial recognition technology. (It didn't work).
- Trump flouted Nevada's COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings this weekend to host a massive campaign rally in a warehouse. The state's now bracing for the COVID-19 outbreak numbers linked to the deeply selfish and irresponsible event.
- Protests continued in Bogota, Colombia over the weekend, which began after Bogota police tased a man to death. Protesters have burned the police station where the responsible officers worked, and have vandalized buildings in the surrounding neighborhood. According to the Colombian government, at least seven people have died over the course of these protests. The cause of those deaths are still unclear.
- Toots Hibbert, of legendary Reggae group Toots and the Maytals, died Friday at the age of 77. His music is an antidote to the current doom-spiral of news, so I'll leave you with this jam: