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!

GOVERNOR_S_OFFICE.jpeg
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

Good morning, Portland! Go grab your coffee and settle in—I'll wait.

.....Okay, ready? Great! Here are the headlines.

• Portland City Council will approve a plan to renovate downtown's South Park Blocks this afternoon. The plan will take a decade to complete, and would add more seating and a bike path, among other improvements. But many Portlanders—particularly members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association—are worried that the revamp will also result in removing the Blocks' old elm trees. City Council says that's simply not true. Drama over trees: Portland really is returning to normal!

• The Oregonian's got a report out today on the whereabouts of Gov. Kate Brown during the hottest day of June's deadly heatwave. She was at a Yamhill winery with staffers, as part of a planned work retreat. As the O writes, "The governor’s decision to stick with a scheduled June 28 strategic planning meeting with her top staffers in the state’s idyllic wine country as Oregonians confronted deadly temperatures that killed more than 100 underscores the apparent failure of the state’s top elected leader to understand — and communicate to the public — the gravity of the heat emergency."

• The Proud Boys are at it again in Oregon! This time, members of the far-right group rallied outside a Planned Parenthood in Salem, attracting leftist counter-protesters. Visibly armed with guns and other weapons, the Proud Boys and counter-protesters ended up brawling, and Salem police arrested two people.

• Here's a sobering statistic: The average number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the United States has doubled in the last few weeks. The good news: Hospitalizations haven't increased that much, meaning most new cases aren't severe. The bad news: Unvaccinated people continue to get the delta variant, and that shows no sign of slowing down as long as the US continues to have a sizable population of unvaccinated folks.

• Man, J&J cannot catch a break:

• Western Europe is currently experiencing torrential storms and heavy flooding, and at least 33 people have died in the floods in Germany. Two of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's political rivals attributed the intense weather to climate change, and noted the need for better preparation in the future for such extreme weather events. Sounds familiar!

• A bit of good news for anyone who lived through the early 2000s and has a heart: Britney Spears will be allowed to hire to her own lawyer to help her break out of an abusive conservatorship, a judge ruled yesterday. Previously, Spears was forced to use court-appointed lawyers, and those lawyers dissuaded her from speaking out about her struggles with the conservatorship.

Support The Portland Mercury

• And finally, in case you missed it—this Portland-filmed movie comes to theaters Friday: