We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is threatening our ability to keep producing the quality reporting you've come to love. If you’re able, please consider making a monthly contribution to the Mercury.
Good morning, Portland! And a special good morning to Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, who have the chance to flip the Senate for Democrats if they win their respective runoff races in Georgia today. Polls right now show that the race is anyone's game, which means we all get to watch more cable news tonight as results roll in!
Here are the rest of the headlines.
• Oregon hoped to vaccinate 100,000 people against COVID-19 by the end of 2020—but in reality, just 31,000 vaccines had been administered by that deadline. In a statement shared yesterday, Gov. Kate Brown said that Oregon's vaccine rollout has been too slow, and said she's working with the Oregon Health Authority to meet a goal of vaccinating 12,000 Oregonians each day. A planned reopening of Oregon schools on February 15 could be threatened if the state doesn't meet that metric.
• At a campaign rally for Georgia's Republican Senate candidates, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, Donald Trump continued his now months-long temper tantrum over losing the election, promising to "fight like hell" to keep the White House. Trump's insistence on pursuing false allegations of voter fraud is creating a deep rift in the Republican Party, according to political experts. That much, at least, we love to see.
• Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, leader of far-right group with white supremacist ties the Proud Boys, was arrested in Washington, DC yesterday on suspicion of burning a Black Lives Matter flag. Naturally, Tarrio was in DC to protest the presidential election results, which will be confirmed in Congress tomorrow.
• Here's a bit of good news—a beloved Oregon trail has reopened:
• In other local news: The Portland Police Bureau reported yesterday that a person suspected of attempted murder was able to escape from their custody because members of a cleaning crew left the jail cell door open.
• Sen. Alan Olsen, a Republican who represents Canby in the Oregon Legislature, announced last night that he will be retiring this month. Clackamas County commissioners will appoint someone to serve the remainder of Olsen's term—likely another Republican.
• In Wisconsin, a pharmacist has been arrested for allegedly tampering with over 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The pharmacist was reportedly a believer in conspiracy theories about the vaccine, and recently told his wife that "the government is planning cyberattacks and plans to shut down the power grid.” He's suspected of removing vaccine doses from the refrigerator, allowing them to expire before they could be used.
• President-elect Joe Biden is considering filling the solicitor general slot with David Frederick—a lawyer who has been successful in defending major oil companies in climate change lawsuits. Anti-corruption and environmental advocates are urging Biden to reconsider.
• With Georgia on everyone's mind today, we'll close with two things: This excellent Q&A with voting advocacy maestro Stacey Abrams, and this banger from Ray Charles: