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Good morning, Portland. We've got a heavy news roundup for you this morning, so let's start with this warm/fuzzy announcement: It's day one of the Mercury's Pizza Week! For those unfamiliar, that means dozens of pizza joints across town are offering specialty slices for $2 each (and whole pies of $16). Take a gander at this year's lineup and make room in your belly for some extra slices this week.
Now, the headlines:
- According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of US adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. (About a third are fully vaccinated).
- Sunday saw at least two mass shootings in the US, both of which appeared to have specific targets. In Austin, Texas a former county deputy killed three people in an alleged act of domestic violence. The shooter was arrested Monday morning. In Kenosha, Wisconsin a man killed three people and injured three more after opening fire in a bar. Police believe the shooter, who has been arrested, knew the victims. Another day in America.
- Closing arguments are set to begin today in the Derek Chauvin trial, with the potential of a verdict later this week. In preparation, members of the US National Guard have embedded across Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, where a cop killed Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, last week.
- Oh, and:
"Journalists covering a protest in a Minneapolis suburb Friday night were forced on their stomachs by law enforcement, rounded up and were only released after having their face and press credentials photographed." https://t.co/xCGyOwD1nW— Society of Professional Journalists (@spj_tweets) April 19, 2021
- Since Chauvin’s trial for the killing of George Floyd began on March 29, police officers have killed at least 64 people in the US—or, three people per day. The majority of those killed are people of color.
- Portland saw its first fatal police shooting of the year Friday. According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), Officer Zachary DeLong fatally shot 46-year-old Robert Douglas Delgado in Lents Park Friday after responding to an alert of a man with a gun in the area. There are still many unknowns about the circumstances leading up to Delgado’s death, some of which will hopefully be made known later this week. What we do know, from neighbors and friends who knew Delgado, who was chronically unhoused: “He was nice and funny and caring and always trying to make someone laugh.”
- The Friday shooting attracted a crowd of protesters to the crime scene to express their outrage with yet another police killing in Portland. Police trotted out riot cops and mace to keep the angry, grieving group of people at bay. Later that night, protesters smashed several shop windows downtown and lit a portable restroom on fire.
- Portland City Council held a public hearing on the city’s police budget Saturday morning, just 24 hours after PPB killed Delgado. The timing gave Portlanders an immediate outlet to demand an overhaul to how the city defines public safety, with many speakers pointing to Delgado’s death as an example of what’s not working. Here’s a thread of some of the highlights:
"Every time I see riot vans, the military crowd control gear, the planes circling overhead, all I can think is how many treatment beds did we fail to fund so we could have this?"— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) April 17, 2021
- A conservative neighborhood group made the choice to hold a pro-police rally in Lents Saturday, in a concerted effort to support officers... who kill people?
- It felt like there were some critical voices missing in Portland's latest whirlwind attempt to address skyrocketing gun violence rates. In hopes of expanding the conversation, we spent some time with Portlanders who have lived experience of being in a gang and/or work directly with gang members. Make time for their perspectives.
- Oregon reported 888 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, the highest number we’ve seen in months. Is the fourth wave on our doorstep? Is the warm weather dropping our defenses? Whatever the case, stay vigilant, Portland.
- Let’s check in on the 2020 Oregon legislative session, which has reached its halfway point. Progress remains relatively glacial in Salem due to political standstills, despite Democratic supermajorities in both the House and Senate. What gives? OPB has the breakdown.
- And finally, another critical highlight from the City Council budget hearing: