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:
• It's baaaaaack! Most of the Portland area is set to go back into COVID-19 "extreme risk" mode on Friday, as a variant-driven surge of new cases continues across Oregon. That means no more indoor dining—though the tighter restrictions will hopefully only last for a few weeks this time.
• Businesses owned by people of color only get about one percent of the millions of dollars that the city of Portland spends on goods and services. City leaders say they simply can't find enough women- and minority-owned businesses to support, but this new report from OPB suggests otherwise.
• Community members gathered in Gresham last night for a vigil remembering a 22-year-old man who'd died in a shooting over the weekend. During that vigil, seven people were injured in a drive-by shooting.
• Two pedestrians have died in traffic collisions on 82nd Avenue in the last month alone, and the street has long been a dangerous one for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers alike. Now, Rep. Khanh Pham, who represents East Portland in the Oregon Legislature, is calling for "emergency and long-term interventions to save lives on this dangerous road."
In national news:
• A new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that if you're vaccinated, you probably don't need to wear a mask outside. However, the CDC says you should still mask-up outside if you're in a big crowd of people.
• In a new federal indictment, an Atlanta-area sheriff has been accused of repeatedly using a "restraint chair" to punish people in custody—meaning he allegedly strapped them to a chair and left them alone for several hours at a time. The sheriff, Victor Hill of Clayton County, is accused of violating those people's civil rights.
• Joe Rogan, a human-shaped rock who happens to host one of the most popular podcasts in America, is advising his millions of listeners that if they're "young" and "healthy", they don't need to get a COVID vaccine. That is alarmingly piss-poor advice, both for the young and healthy and for the immunocompromised people they interact with!
• President Joe Biden plans to increase funding for education and childcare—and doing so will likely involve raising taxes on the wealthy. But Biden is also planning on simply using the IRS to more effectively enforce the existing tax code and increase tax revenue. In other words: Biden wants to make it harder for rich people to cheat on their taxes.
And just for fun:
• The “5 Spice Peach and Bourbon Sour” at Elephant's Deli on S Corbett fuses together 5 spice infused bourbon, Combier Peche de Vigne, peach purée, and lemon juice—and comes topped with a gummy peach ring. Read more in today's Cocktail To-Go Club.
• And finally: I'm in awe of this cat's influence: