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Good morning, Portland! In case you've forgotten, it's almost Valentine's Day—time to send your annual FREE Valentines messages to the Mercury!
Here are the headlines.
• A West Linn cop has come under fire for displaying a painting of a clown wearing blackface in his office... which is inside West Linn High School, because he's a school resource officer! The officer apologized and removed the painting, claiming it as a misunderstanding, after the painting drew attention from a former student's Facebook post.
• Oregonians 80 and older could start signing up online for the COVID-19 vaccination yesterday—but things got off to a rocky start, with slots opening up early with no explanation and many unable to get an appointment. It's weird, because usually octogenarians and glitchy technology is a slam-dunk combo!
• In case you missed it, there was a protest at a Portland jail over the weekend—because guards just can't bring themselves to wear masks during a global pandemic that is hitting jails and prisons especially hard. Our own Alex Zielinski has the details.
• In other local news:
A recent decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals could determine whether or not police are allowed to ask TriMet passengers for proof of fare. Our @BlairStenvick has the details.https://t.co/kxAxi8VyMu— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) February 8, 2021
• A team from the World Health Organization (WHO) is working to trace the origins of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China. The team says it's "extremely unlikely" the virus came from a lab accident, and was likely spread by an animal host—but it doesn't have conclusive findings yet.
• The impeachment trial against Donald Trump kicks off this week in the Senate, and Trump's impeachment defense heavily quotes a constitutional law professor from Michigan State University. There's just one little problem: The professor says Trump's defense has twisted his words and research to mean "the opposite" of what his actual conclusions were. A bad-faith argument from the Trump team? I'm shocked.
• Another day in the extremely normal United States of America:
Ammon Bundy tells me that members of his growing national “neighborhood watch on steroids” — formed to fight coronavirus restrictions — can call a militia like they’d call an Uber, staging a protest within minutes. https://t.co/kohtzxVpnE— Richard Read (@RichReadReports) February 9, 2021
• During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Minot, North Dakota has been among the worst-hit cities in the worst-hit states in the worst-hit country. And yet its residents cannot even agree an whether they ought to have a mandate requiring face coverings in public. Read more in this deep dive from the New Yorker.
• Mary Wilson, one of the founding members of The Supremes, has passed away at the age of 76. So, we'll end today with Wilson's performance of "Pick Up the Pieces," released as part of her solo career: