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'!)
• No press conference from the Governor today regarding updates on the 37 wildfires plaguing Oregon, but according to authorities yesterday, significant progress is being made on many blazes around the state. However, heavy, hazardous smoke will still be around through the end of the week, so stay inside (if you can) and stay safe. For the latest on the progress being made by our firefighters, check out wildfire.oregon.gov.
• Some good news: The state death count has dropped from 10 to 8 after rescue workers misidentified some animal remains. Not so good news: Fifty people are still unaccounted for, and 22 are confirmed as missing.
• Some good news? The air quality index in Portland has dropped from "hazardous" to "very unhealthy"... sooooo... yay?
Satellite imagery from early this afternoon shows an area of dense smoke lingering over the Willamette Valley & Columbia River Gorge, with smoke streaming northward from fires in CA. Conditions have improved significantly along the OR coast where visibilities are back to normal! pic.twitter.com/zA4YrhuIwA
— NWS Portland (@NWSPortland) September 15, 2020
• Let's not forget that so many Oregonians are really suffering right now and need our help. Here's a vetted list of great organizations where you can send your cash and the money will get into the right hands.
• Gov. Kate Brown is vetoing a number of items from last month's agreed upon budget to insure the state's coffers are full enough to deal with the aftereffects of the wildfires.
• Meanwhile, in QAnon-spouting politicians who are just about as nice as you'd expect:
A Washington state representative dialed the phone of a local reporter and called him a "cocksucker" and "lying piece of shit," among other things, after he published a story about her linking to conspiracy theories on Facebook. https://t.co/SRoMoWddgd
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 15, 2020
• While COVID cases in Oregon continue to drop from this time a month ago, it's still hanging on, and the wildfire smoke is not helping. The Oregon Health Authority reported 184 new positive cases and eight additional deaths today.
• Find out what it's really like on the front lines of Portland's nightly protests with our upcoming livestream event, "Eyes on the Ground: A Conversation With Portland's Protest Journalists" coming Tuesday, September 22. Our Alex Zielinski and Blair Stenvick interview a panel of local reporters on being gassed, journalistic ethics, being arrested by the cops, and more! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• THE BIGGEST STORY YOU REALLY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT: According to a complaint filed by a nurse and several detainees, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are accused of performing a "staggering number" of hysterectomies on immigrant women being held at a Georgia detention center. (Hmm... where's the outrage from all those "right to lifers" now?)
• In yet another reason that ICE should be immediately disbanded: "ICE deported a key witness in investigation of sexual assault and harassment at El Paso detention center."
• The City of Louisville has reached a $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor who was gunned down in her apartment by officers serving a mistaken warrant. The family also got the city to agree to changes in the way warrants are served, and the expansion of drug testing for officers. HOWEVER, HOWEVER, HOWEVER! The three officers who murdered Taylor have still not been charged.
• Woefully unqualified Trump crony/ assistant secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo has apologized for accusing federal scientists of treason and warning of an armed leftist "hit squads" (which don't exist, but we can dream). He's also considering a leave of absence for (ahem) "physical" health problems.
— Caputo has signaled his desire to take medical leave
— He claimed to staff he had never read a single MMWR, despite efforts to meddle w reports
— He concluded meeting by telling staff to listen to the Grateful Deadhttps://t.co/HoBYgDB7Ej with @adamcancryn @owermohle
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 15, 2020
• President Trump's new personal lawyer (Bill Barr and the DOJ) are opening up a criminal investigation into former national security adviser John Bolton for daring to declare in his new book that Trump is criminally corrupt. (Have you noticed the uptick of snakes eating their own tail in this country?)
• A bunch of celebrities including Kim Kardashian are "freezing" their Facebook and Instagram accounts for one day tomorrow to protest the company allowing misinformation and racism to run unchecked on their sites. (Don't worry! They'll resume profiting from Facebook's corruption on Thursday!)
• Historic flooding is expected on the gulf coast as Hurricane Sally bears down on the Florida panhandle and Mississippi.
• The WEATHER REPORT: Expect the thick smoke to continue tomorrow with a high of 70.
• And finally, in this scenario, I've decided I'm the warthog and the cheetah is 2020. ROLL IT!