Good morning, Portland! If today is already a crappy one for you, can I suggest getting a hot dog and a (checks notes).... CBD margarita slushee?
Here are the headlines.
• According to attorneys with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Portland's current police oversight board is relying on flawed—if not unconstitutional—logic to clear Portland cops of alleged misconduct. This is especially true in cases where officers used force against a member of the public during 2020's racial justice protests. Read more of this important story from Alex Zielinski.
• Big news: Gov. Kate Brown has moved up the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility schedule again—now, all Oregonians 16 and older will be able to get their shots starting on April 19, just a couple weeks away. The reasoning for moving the date up, per Brown: “We are locked in a race between vaccine distribution and the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants." (This might also have something to do with the fact that the Biden administration is reportedly going to ask states to move up their eligibility schedules to April 19 later today, but who's to say?)
• Some genuinely hopeful news to help start your morning:
Well, this would be amazing.— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) April 5, 2021
HIV vaccine researchers helped to push forward the mRNA technology that powers the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccines.
Now Moderna is using the same tech to accelerate the development of HIV vaccines.
• And more medical marvel stuff: A New York woman got a new trachea in the first successful transplant surgery of its kind.
• About 20 million white evangelical Christians in the United States say they don't plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing reasoning such as “It would be God’s will if I am here or if I am not here” and believing the vaccine has “aborted cell tissue” in it.
• Meanwhile, there are some other people in the US who would love to get a shot, but can't:
• The Oregon Legislature is preparing to pass a slate of bills that will make it easier for jurisdictions to discipline their police officers, and lessen the power grip that police unions (like the Portland Police Association) currently have on their local police oversight and disciplinary processes.
• Three Portland organizations are suing the federal government in an attempt to stop, or at least delay, a plan to widen a 1.7-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in Northeast Portland. A legal complaint filed Friday aims to have the project put on hold until the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) conducts a rigorous study into the environmental impacts of the project—something the complaint claims ODOT failed to do in the years-long planning phase of freeway widening.
• Oregon concert venues are trying to prep for a post-pandemic future. But they say they're getting very little guidance from the state of when it will be okay to reopen, and how to do so safely.
• And finally, I'll leave you today with this, for which no explanation is necessary: