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'!)
• At a press conference today, Gov. Kate Brown delivered some potential good news about Oregon’s wildfires: A rainstorm expected to hit this evening “will bring welcome moisture,” helping to quell wildfires and expel the toxic smoke that has enveloped the state.
“This is good news for Oregon, good news across the fire front,” said Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
But there’s a catch: “We do expect lightning this evening, and tomorrow,” Grafe continued. “We also expect, like typical with any storm front, the frontal winds. If the moisture doesn’t come to the fires first, the winds will, and that will be problematic.”
Brown also added that Oregonians impacted by wildfires are now eligible to receive financial assistance from the federal government. You can learn more and apply for relief here.
• Portland City Council has approved the updated renter relocation assistance policy, in which landlords will now be forced to pay relocation fees if they raise their tenant's rent by any amount between now and March 2021.
• According to a department spokesperson, the Department of Justice explored the possibility of criminally charging Portland officials for "allowing" the city's nightly protests by Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Naturally, this spurious case would get laughed out of court—but winning isn't the point, is it?
In the last four months of Black Lives Matter protests across the country, eastern Oregon activists have been holding marches and events for rural Oregonians. We talk with Pendleton organizer Briana Spencer. https://t.co/C6rwvOBupB
— ThinkOutLoud on OPB (@OPBTOL) September 17, 2020
• It looks like the 2020 Pac-12 football season is back on again after Governor Brown gave the okay for Oregon and Oregon State teams to resume practice pending approval from the Oregon Health Authority. Hope everyone's happy, because it probably won't end well.
• There are lots of methods for fighting the wildfires spreading across Oregon, but in Forest Grove they're taking an absolutely wonderful and novel approach: FIREFIGHTING GOATS!
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• A federal judge in Washington state has blocked the changes to the Post Office that has resulted in slowing down the mail and endangering mail-in voting. The judge ruled that the Trump administration is "involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service.”
Breaking NYT: A heavily criticized recommendation from the CDC last month about who should be tested for the coronavirus was not written by CDC scientists and was posted to the agency's website despite their serious objections. https://t.co/fMOyxAmTUg
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 17, 2020
• Hurricane Sally has left 550,000 people without power in the Gulf Coast following heavy flooding that has led to the death of at least one person.
• The director of the FBI told a House Homeland Security committee that Joe Biden is the target of a Russian disinformation campaign taking place RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT designed to make him lose the election.
• For those who still don't think that Trump needs to be frog-walked out of office ASAP, I'm just going to leave this headline right here: "Trump alleges ‘left-wing indoctrination’ in schools, says he will create national commission to push more ‘pro-American’ history."
The first reporter to simply stand up and ask Trump, "what the fuck is wrong with you" should win a Pulitzer Prize.
— Grande Capo (@VoLinxx) September 17, 2020
• Soon after CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified that most Americans wouldn't receive a safe COVID vaccine for "six-to-nine" months, President Trump—who is not a doctor—said the doctor was "confused" and wrong. WOW. WHO TO BELIEVE??
• Trump crony and personal lawyer Bill Barr of the DOJ labeled the precautions intended to prevent the spread of COVID the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history” since slavery, once again proving his utter disregard for Black lives.
In April, USPS planned to distribute 650 million masks, enough to offer 5 face masks to every household. The White House scrapped the plan.
“There was concern from some in the White House... that households receiving masks might create concern or panic."https://t.co/hYXUQQQVr9
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) September 17, 2020
• Today in "welp, that's embarrassing": A former aide to Mike Pence has endorsed Joe Biden, citing the president's deadly bungling of the coronavirus crisis.
• The WEATHER REPORT: Expect heavy rainstorms tonight and tomorrow as well with a high of 66.
• And finally, a necessary, but welcome addition to this sign: