The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!
In local news:
• Multnomah County will not be moving to the “Lower Risk” COVID-19 restriction level next week because county health officials did not submit the required vaccination equity plan by today’s deadline. The county health department aims to submit the equity plan to the Oregon Health Authority for approval to move to lower restrictions in time for Memorial Day weekend.
• The Oregon Health Authority is scrambling to develop new masking guidelines for businesses after Governor Brown announced fully vaccinated Oregonians no longer need to wear masks in most public spaces. The state epidemiologist said Friday that businesses choosing to allow mask-free shopping will most likely be required to check each customers’ vaccination card. For the record, I will be keeping my mask on because I don’t want to be confused with an anti-masker and/or anti-vaxxer, thank you very much.
Yesterday’s @CDCgov announcement left many unanswered questions for states to sort out. Until we have vaccination verification guidance and procedures in place, businesses should continue following current guidance.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) May 14, 2021
• Last night, the Portland City Council voted against fully funding a city-wide expansion of Portland Street Response—a pilot program that provides non-police emergency response to 911 calls related to mental health crises or regarding unhoused people—in the 2021-2022 city budget. Read about some of the other budget amendments that are set to be adopted July 1 in the Mercury’s breakdown.
• Plus, a little reminder that there is a special election next week! It's too late to mail your ballot, but you have until 8 pm on May 18 to turn your ballot into a drop box.
In national news:
• The Israeli military claimed to have troops on the ground attacking Gaza in a statement posted on social media Thursday night, causing Hamas fighters to move into defensive positions in an underground network of tunnels. The Israeli military then bombed those tunnels for 40 minutes. It now appears that there never were Israeli troops on the ground and the social media post was used as a trap.
• The city of Columbus, Ohio, will pay a $10 million settlement to the family of Andre Hill, a Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer in December while walking out of a parking garage holding a cellphone. At the settlement announcement, Hill’s sister said “the money is a good thing; but having Andre here would be better.”
• In a 6—3 vote, the Mississippi Supreme Court denied a medical marijuana program that state voters approved last year. The reasoning for the denial was based on a technicality of how the initiative was placed on the ballot.
• In lighter news: the reunion special of Friends is set to be released May 27 on HBO Max's streaming service, so now is a good time to figure out which one of your friends will be there for youuuuuu and give you their password.
• You want to look GOOD, true or false? If "true," you'll want to purchase a new, wicked awesome Mercury T-shirt... just in time for tee season!
• And finally, I will be starting my weekend off by waiting for the Google logo to hit the corner of my browser perfectly: