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!
Good morning, Portland! How did you manage your first weekend in the wild west of mask-optional America? I, for one, am still hesitant to unmask myself, despite being days away from the two-week-post-shot #2-mark. (More on mask rules later in this post). Expect another warm week, kicking off today with a high of 70 degrees. Now, for the news:
- Rockets continued to tear apart the Gaza Strip this weekend, fired from both Israeli and Hamas soldiers. Israeli missiles have killed at least 197 Palestinians, while Hamas rockets have killed at least ten Israelis. To be clear, these are war crimes. The United Nations Security Council met virtually this weekend to raise concerns about the "utterly appalling” warfare and call for a ceasefire.
- Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
The United States is blocking a joint statement from the Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire. Yep, you read that right.— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) May 17, 2021
How many more men, women and children need to be slaughtered? https://t.co/iuzt3hPZPO
- The US Supreme Court announced it will hear a case that could roll back the abortion rights founded in Roe v. Wade. The case, which won't be heard until the fall, centers on a Mississippi law that would prohibit abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The ban had been blocked by lower courts for being inconsistent with the Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade.
- In municipal elections across the US, local candidates are gaining attention with their calls to strengthen policing after a year of racial justice protests and police reforms. The results of these elections might show a political pendulum shift in how the public want their communities protected.
- UFO updates:
“I'm not telling you that it doesn't sound wacky. What I'm telling you, it's real,” says Luis Elizondo, a 20-year veteran of covert military intelligence operations, about UFOs. “What is it? What are its intentions? What are its capabilities?” https://t.co/N8Z0JM2tH5 pic.twitter.com/fVUZ3hQaIq— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) May 16, 2021
- You might still have whiplash from last week’s announcement by the CDC (and then, Oregon) to lift mask mandates for fully vaccinated adults. To navigate what the news means, and where to still proceed with caution, here’s a helpful FAQ created by the kind folks at NPR.
- The Oregonian talked to business owners about how they plan on enforcing—or shrugging off the new CDC rules—and spoke to customers about their own comfort level. Yes, at least one person is quoted asking, “Are we living in a communist country?”
- Multnomah County health officials missed last Friday’s deadline to turn in a plan that would set the county on a path toward meeting “Lower Risk” standards under the state COVID protocols by May 21. The county’s now on track to lower its guidelines by Memorial Day Weekend.
- Today’s most important headline: “Man behind ‘Keep Portland Weird’ says city not as weird anymore”
- W. Kamau Bell centered his Sunday night episode of “United Shades of America” on Portland’s racial justice protests, where he interviewed many familiar figures in the local activism and civil rights community.
- The Biden White House revoked a Trump-era executive order Friday that justified the deployment of hundreds of federal police to Portland last summer. The order specifically directed the US attorney general to crack down on anyone who vandalized federal property or statues. Another important tidbit, per OPB: “Biden also cancelled a plan to build a garden for hundreds of lifelike statues of historical and pop cultural figures approved by the former president in his last week office.”