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Washington State Department of Agriculture

Good morning, Portland! Did you sleep well? Well, here's something to help jolt you awake:

Aaaand here are the headlines!

• Oregon broke another COVID-19 hospitalization record yesterday, and 93 percent of the state's ICU beds are currently occupied. Local health officials continue to sound the alarm. Some commonsense things you can do to help: get vaccinated, stay home if you aren't vaccinated, stay home if you feel sick, and don't go to the emergency room for a COVID test.

• The board for the Newberg School District continues to make shitty decisions, two weeks after voting to ban LGBTQ+ Pride and Black Lives Matter flags from schools. Last night, the board voted to retain outside legal counsel to help fight potential lawsuits over the ban without notifying the public in advance of the decision—even though Oregon law requires advance notice for decisions made in public school board meetings. Sounds like Newberg's best and brightest maybe aren't serving on the school board!

• State representatives and Multnomah County legislators are calling for the City of Portland to shut down Zenith Energy, an oil transport company seeking to expand its terminal along the Willamette River. Environmental advocates are grateful for the support, but are still anxiously awaiting the city’s decision. Our own dogged environmental reporter Isabella Garcia has more details here!

• Breaking Afghanistan news, from the AP: "An explosion went off Thursday outside Kabul’s airport, where thousands of people have flocked as they try to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Western nations had warned of a possible attack there in the waning days of a massive airlift. The Pentagon confirmed the blast, with no immediate word on casualties. Several countries urged people to avoid the airport earlier in the day, with one saying there was a threat of a suicide bombing."

• Devastating news for those of us in the tote-carrying community:

• Hospitals in the Southern US are seeing a big spike in pregnant people gravely ill with COVID-19—and virtually all of them are unvaccinated. "Their deterioration is quicker," Dr. Todd Rice, director of Vanderbilt's medical intensive care unit, told NBC News. "They go faster from needing a little bit of oxygen to... they need a lot of support."

• One of the men involved in last year's stymied plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer received a six-year federal prison sentence yesterday.

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• Data uncovered by Buzzfeed News shows that at least 88 law enforcement agencies all over the world have used facial recognition software from Clearview AI—and often it was done without any sort of leadership oversight.

• And finally, we'll end today with this special tribute to some kick-ass local athletes: