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Good afternoon, Portland! Here's the latest on local news, national news, and a little bit of fun.
In local news:
• Portland City Council voted 4-1 to renew the city's contract with Downtown Clean & Safe, an organization that charges property owners located within its 213-block downtown boundary to fund additional, or “enhanced,” services not already provided by the city—like graffiti removal, expanded trash pick-up, and augmented police and security patrols. The majority of public testimony given on the contract during council last week was in staunch opposition to its passage, because of accountability issues and concerns that Clean & Safe's security guards disproportionally harass unhoused Portlanders who reside downtown. But that testimony apparently wasn't as convincing as random Nextdoor and Trip Advisor comments were for the city commissioners!
• The Oregon Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit from the conservative Freedom Foundation that challenged Gov. Kate Brown's original mask mandate at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit waged that the mask requirement was illegal—but since that initial mandate has since expired, the Court dismissed it as irrelevant.
• Fresh on the heels of a COVID outbreak caused by the Pendleton Roundup, here's this announcement:
We are excited to host the @NASCAR_Xfinity series. This major sports event will draw thousands of spectators and racing enthusiasts from around the country to our beautiful, unique city and support our economy. https://t.co/BIJ0sCQ7aI #PORTLANDNASCAR / @Portland_GP pic.twitter.com/9zxPxGd8DP
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 29, 2021
• Portland Public Schools (PPS) is considering a COVID vaccine mandate for all students eligible to receive one. At a school board meeting last night, board members and community members weighed the pros and cons of such a mandate, including the potential equity benefits that it could have for students of color, who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In a survey, so far 94 percent of PPS kids 12 and older say they're already vaccinated—though the majority of students have yet to respond.
In national news:
• In case you missed this big news this morning: YouTube says it will delete all content with false claims about the COVID vaccine, and ban users who push that content. This is great news, but it would be even better if it had happened about nine months ago!
• The Delta COVID surge may be waning slightly here in Oregon, but it's hardly done here or throughout the country. In fact, many regions—including Atlanta, Florida, and Arkansas—are continuing to see 100 percent ICU capacity at their hospitals.
• Looks like someone in Congress does have a backbone:
Tomorrow, I will share a story that I’ve never fully told publicly before.
I am testifying at the Oversight Committee hearing on abortion care and I will share that when I was 17, I was raped, became pregnant, and got an abortion.
And I am not ashamed. https://t.co/S7HT22NVvG
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) September 29, 2021
• Democrats in the Senate are working to find a way to reform immigration law to give Dreamers and other recent undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. But their efforts keep coming up against obscure, rule-focused roadblocks, so it's unclear how successful they'll be.
And just for fun:
• Tomorrow night at the Hollywood Theater, you can catch a showcase of short films made by homeless and marginalized youth—including a music video collaboration with Mic Crenshaw and the Oregon Symphony.
• Finally, here's a very good dispensary cat: