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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! If you got it, flaunt it, boy I know you want it. While I turn around you watch me, check up on it. LET'S GO TO PRESS.
• A worrying new trend: Portlanders have described waiting hours—if not days—to hear back from Portland Police after making 911 calls ranging from domestic abuse to stalking. But when officers did respond, callers said they’ve heard excuses that felt inappropriate, if not politically charged. And some officers are accused of blatantly ignoring calls due to recent cuts in the police budget. Our Alex Zielinski has more in this fascinating/infuriating story.
• Yesterday the Oregon Health Authority reported a whopping 1,339 new coronavirus cases (250 of those in Multnomah County), and the governor has extended her state of emergency until at least March.
• Oregon health workers received some unwelcome news yesterday that the federal government will be shipping fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine than originally thought, meaning that in the first rollout, only 100,000 state healthcare workers will receive a dose as opposed to 147,000.
Oregon is receiving thousands of fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this month from the federal government than originally indicated, as officials in other states report they're also getting less than the federal government originally promised. https://t.co/p1aYwfLhZ1
— OPB (@OPB) December 18, 2020
• In an attempt to undo decades of forced displacement and gentrification in the historically Black Albina neighborhood, Portland City Commissioners are discussing using $67 million in federal funding to build more affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland. But for those still suffering from displacement, this is a small move that isn't nearly enough. Our Alex Zielinski talks to those affected and dives into the details.
• Related: Oregon's $62 million relief fund for Black people who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus has, at least for now, been put on hold thanks to legal challenges from companies who seem to think racism doesn't exist.
• Breathe a sigh of relief, renters: Multnomah County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the county's residential eviction moratorium until at least July.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Alarm continues to grow over the 40 government agencies—including the Treasury, and the Department of Energy which does nuclear research—that have almost certainly been hacked by the Russians. Putin is denying it ('natch), Biden is promising to make them pay (sounds good!), and Trump is doing nothing (well, that's not exactly true... he's batting his eyes coyly at Putin).
• The Supreme Court has (at least for now) thrown out a challenge that would've stopped Trump's plan to exclude undocumented immigrants in the census—something that could greatly affect how much federal money a state can receive and the number of its congressional seats. However if the final numbers don't arrive until after January 20, new president Biden has said he'd reverse Trump's order. So for once... sloooooow doooooown, okay?
• While Republicans are still pissed that Congress is offering a paltry $600 stimulus check in the currently negotiated COVID relief package, Trump was reportedly ready to demand that Americans receive anywhere from $1,200 to $2000 checks—until aides talked him out if by saying it would "blow up" current negotiations. (Sorry, but it would take a lot more than $2,000 for me to say Trump isn't a POS.)
$600 and whatever you can carry from your local Congressional representative’s second home
— Edward Ongweso Jr (@bigblackjacobin) December 18, 2020
• In a much better example of leadership, president-elect Biden has chosen Rep. Deb Haaland to serve as the head of the Department of the Interior—the first Native American to hold the position. He's also chosen the first Black man, Michael S. Regan, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
• Today Vice President Mike Pence was the first White House staffer to receive the coronavirus vaccine... in an apparent attempt to inspire other mewling, right-wing, evangelist mommy-lovers that everyone hates.
• This just in: "Europe is paying 24 percent less than U.S. for many coronavirus vaccines." This is presumably also known as the "because Trump is an asshole" tax.
• A reduction in the number of Georgia polling sites (cooked up by crooked, scared Republicans) is causing real harm, making for two hour waits to vote in some locations, and dampening turnout.
• What follows is a subject that's been largely ignored by state officials (yep, even here in Oregon), and this headline is the result: "1 in 5 prisoners in the US has had COVID-19, 1,700 have died."
“It’s a very special day, I feel euphoric. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. I feel very lucky to have had the vaccine.”
It’s a thumbs up from Sir @IanMckellen who received the first dose of his #CovidVaccine today 👍https://t.co/W6JtOiwciR pic.twitter.com/otfqkj7I9J
— NHS London (@NHSEnglandLDN) December 16, 2020
• Look, you're chilly and wet. So what would taste better right now than a soothing, warm bowl of pho? Our Suzette Smith has some great pho options for your tummy in this week's "Takeout Club!"
• Let the bells ring and the confetti fall! Tickets are now on sale for the super sexy HUMP! 2021 Film Festival, featuring an array of hot 'n' horny amateur dirty flicks submitted by hot people like YOU. Get your tickets now!
• Now let's whip our heads upward for the WEATHER: Dry for much of the day, with a high of 52—but look out for that rain system moving in to ruin the weekend. BASTARDS!
• And finally, kick your day off in the right way with this super fun TikTok interpretation of Dua Lipa's "Levitating"!