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'!)
In local news:
• HOT VACCINE NEWS: All Oregonians aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by July 1, according to the state's latest timeline. August is gonna be fucking lit.
• After a week of mixed messaging from City Hall, Hazelnut Grove residents have received some good news: The city will not be cutting its current services to the North Portland tiny home village for formerly houseless people in the "foreseeable future."
• Hector Calderon had Oregon's first documented case of COVID last year, and spent two months using a ventilator. KGW recently caught up with Calderon a year after he contracted the coronavirus—he's now recovered, and back at work as a school janitor in Lake Oswego.
• The Washington State Supreme Court struck down the state's drug possession law yesterday, ruling that the law is unconstitutional because it doesn't require prosecutors to prove people were knowingly and purposefully in possession of illegal drugs.
In national news:
• EVEN HOTTER VACCINE NEWS: A panel of advisors to the FDA have voted unanimously to authorize the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine for emergency use during the COVID pandemic. The FDA should officially approve the vaccine this weekend, and distribution could start within the next week.
• Last night saw the first major US military action of the Biden administration. US airstrikes hit the Syrian side of the Iraq-Syria border yesterday, killing at least 17 people according to reports.
• Unsurprisingly, Black employees at Amazon say they've experienced years of racism at their workplace. But hey, I'm sure a two-hour-long implicit bias training and Jeff Bezos buying a stadium and renaming it "Black Lives Matter Arena" will fix things.
• Ted Cruz gave a speech at annual conservative conference CPAC today, in which he (takes a deep breath) made light of his recent escape to Cancun while Texans were dying from freezing temperatures and power outages, talked about how stupid basic COVID safety protocol is, sneered at Rep. Alexandria Occasio Cortez's recounting of her own trauma on January 6, and ended by screaming "FREEDOM!" At this rate, he's going to be our next president.
And finally, just for fun:
• Reel M Inn Tavern is reopening for takeout starting tomorrow—and you can preorder some of their famous fried chicken right now.
• Bring this energy into the weekend: