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! Head's up: This Sunday is Father's Day! Do you have plans yet for your dad or father figure?
Here are the headlines.
• A group of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers who worked on the bureau's Rapid Response Team—which polices protests—resigned in unison from the team last night, though they will remain PPB officers. The resignations come just two days after one of their own was charged with fourth-degree assault against a photojournalist at a protest last summer. There are scant details out there right now, but expect to hear more about this one throughout the day.
• Data from a recent US Census poll shows that at least 5 percent of Oregon renters were confident they couldn’t pay June rent, with another Census survey showing that 27 percent of tenants were behind on rent payments in May. While state legislation has granted Oregon tenants until February 2022 to repay rent missed during the pandemic, there are few protections for renters whose finances haven’t yet recovered from the pandemic’s economic downturn—keeping them from having rent money for July 1, when the rent moratorium is lifted.
• The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized has dropped dramatically in the last few months, from an average of 125,000 nationwide in January to 16,000 now. But across the nation and in Portland, there are still patients severely sick with COVID-19—and almost all of them are unvaccinated.
• And another legal challenge to Obamacare bites the dust:
BREAKING: In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrown out a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, holding that the plaintiffs in the case lacked standing.https://t.co/pkbazsOLNy
— NPR (@NPR) June 17, 2021
• After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the United States Congress passed two measures giving unprecedented war powers to the president—and we've all seen how well that worked out! Now, 20 years later, Congress is poised to finally repeal the measures. The effort is being led by Rep. Barbara Lee, the one single congressperson to vote against the original measures.
• Yesterday, Colorado became the third US state to adopt a public option, or a completely government-run insurance plan, joining Washington and Nevada. Academics and advocates believe these states could become case studies in how a public option could work in the wider US.
• President Joe Biden will sign a bill today making Juneteenth—celebrating the day, two months after the Civil War ended, that enslaved people were finally freed in Galveston, Texas—a federal holiday. The last time the government created a new federal holiday was in 1983, with Martin Luther King Day.
• Here's a lovely little profile of "Karl," a man who is responsible for removing COVID-19 victims' bodies from a California hospital during the pandemic. (Warning: This one's a real tearjerker!)
• So beautiful, and yet so treacherous:
• In Multnomah County, vaccine efforts are now focused east of 82nd Ave, an area with a more diverse population and lower vaccination rates. That means setting up clinics that meet people where they are—including the old Fabric Depot shop on Southeast 122nd.
• It's been over a year now since nightly racial justice protests broke out in Portland, and it's been one hell of a wild ride since then. But what has actually changed in Portland policing in the last year? In case you missed this definitive series from our own Alex Zielinski earlier this month, take some time to check it out now.
• And finally: If you haven't seen this excellent comic yet, you'll want to give it a read for a double-dose of humor and catharsis.
I made this comic for @portlandmercury about how the pandemic changed how I perform gender. Thanks to @BlairStenvick for asking me to make this! https://t.co/ozxDt5UMmi
— Sarah Mirk (@sarahmirk) June 15, 2021