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Good morning, Portland:
- Tens of thousands of Oregonians are without power after the weekend's historic winter storm, which dumped a record 12 inches of snow over 24 hours in Northwest Oregon. The National Weather Service expects temperatures to rise above freezing in the metro area by tonight. Until then, try to stay off the roads. According to Portland Bureau of Transportation, dozens of roads remained closed due to downed power lines and fallen trees—and many others are unplowed and topped with a dangerous layer of ice. (If your boss is still demanding you drive to work, feel free to use this blog post as a formal excuse.)
- Unusual weather makes people do unusual things, like hold a spontaneous cross country ski race in downtown Portland:
- Oregon state representative Diego Hernandez is suing the state legislature and its leaders, arguing that he was given no opportunity to meaningfully respond to the widespread accusations of harassment against him.
- Oregon isn't the only corner of the US hit with absurd amounts of snow this weekend. Texas is currently scrambling to respond to a historic snowstorm that's sparking rolling blackouts across the state—leaving an estimate 1 million people without power in single-digit temps.
- Seven Republican US Senators voted Saturday to impeach Donald Trump, which wasn't enough to secure a needed two-thirds majority vote to convict the guy. The unsuccessful effort has further divided the GOP, with many believing they still need Trump's support to win a reelection bid in 2022. Let the pandering begin.
- On Sunday, the third anniversary of the fatal Parkland school shooting, President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass stronger gun laws, including on background checks for gun sales and a ban on assault weapons. "This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call," said Biden in a statement.
a very good @ConorDougherty piece on the nation’s housing crisis. It’s easy to essentialize it as just a problem of rich cities, but the people forced out of those places then bring the $$ pressures to new ones. This looks at the CA —> Idaho migration https://t.co/C4tNlsqEU7
— Rachel Cohen (@rmc031) February 15, 2021
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance Friday to help schools decide when/how to bring students back into the classroom. In short, schools need to be following a long list of precautions before considering reopening. Per NPR: "For politicians, parents and school leaders looking for a clear green light to reopen schools, this is not it."
- Headline of the day: "Mature Red-Bellied Lemur Seeks Soul Mate for Cuddles and Grooming."
- Oxford University has started testing its coronavirus vaccine in children ages 6 to 17—the youngest age group so far to undergo a COVID-19 vaccine trial. Yet US medical experts doubt vaccines will actually be administered to children before 2022.
- With Mardi Gras parades cancelled, New Orleans residents are decorating their houses like parade floats. And they're taking it seriously:
“It’s so New Orleans to take a bad situation and turn into a positive,” said Kelli Starrett, who had René Píerre install a float at her home. “This speaks to the resiliency of the people in the city.” https://t.co/82Y6g1aFgY pic.twitter.com/K7ilPnii93
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 14, 2021