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Good morning, Portland! I hope you had a lovely fall weekend. Make time for a mid-day walk today and tomorrow, since the tail end of the week is going to be soggy. Now, for the news:
- Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) predict that by December 26, Oregon will reach herd immunity from the delta variant of COVID-19. Working slogan for this news: “COVID: Box it up by Boxing Day!”
- A plan to add tolling to Portland-area freeways is starting to take shape through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) tolling program. The Mercury’s Isabella Garcia unpacks which questions still need answering before the new system falls into place.
- City Commissioner Mingus Mapps wants to use excess city funds to double the size of the Portland Police Bureau’s behavioral health unit. Here's how he described the plan to OPB: “It sounds like expanding the police department. But what we’re really doing is expanding the resources that the police department taps into to help people who are going through a mental health crisis. So it’s part of an effort to rebuild that new social safety net.”
- The police bureau, meanwhile, is using Twitter to whine about its budget:
Your passive-aggressive tax dollars at work? https://t.co/LnzEdcDcN0— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) October 18, 2021
- Today is the last day of work for more than 200 people employed by Multnomah County and the City of Portland, due to their decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Put in a more positive way: 92 percent of the county’s employees and 92 of the city’s employees have received the vaccine.
- Curious what drives people to make that call? The Oregonian spoke with several Oregonians who would rather be fired than get a COVID-19 vaccine.
- More than two dozen current and former members of Oregon law enforcement have joined the far-right Oath Keepers militia since the group was founded in 2009, according to records analyzed by OPB. The militia group is perhaps best known for helping lead the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
- The trial for the men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man shot and killed in 2020 while jogging through a residential street in Georgia, is set to begin today. This state trial is the first of two trial for the three accused men—the second federal trial will take place next year.
- Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state, has died at the age of 84. Powell passed away this morning from complications with COVID-19. Powell was vaccinated against the virus, but was immunocompromised due to a specific type of cancer. According to multiple obituaries, Powell’s legacy is tainted for pushing the US to go to war with Iraq despite the country having no evidence of “weapons of mass destruction.”
- We lost another hero late last week: Tom Morey, the inventor of the Boogie Board, died Thursday at age 86.
- A group of 17 missionaries, including five children, have been kidnapped by a known criminal gang in Haiti. The group of Ohio-based Christian volunteers had been returning home after building an orphanage.
- Seems worth keeping an eye on this developing story: