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People in construction gear walking around a downed-tree
Crews removing trees during fire season. Oregon Department of Transportation

TGIF! Let’s get into some headlines.

In local news:

• BIG SPENDER ALERT: People For Portland, the dark money group responsible for those billboards complaining about Portland’s reputation, spent $561,747 lobbying City Hall over the course of three months ending on September 30, according to City Hall lobbying reports. The expenditure appears to be a record high. In comparison, Uber spent $63,000 in six months ahead of Portland City Council’s vote to legalize the ride sharing service in 2015.

• The Portland Book Festival is hosting its first hybrid festival this year, offering a combination of virtual and in-person events. Here’s Aliya Hall’s recommendations on which virtual events to tune into next week!

• A federal judge has ordered the US Forest Service to halt tree removal along 400 miles of roads in the Willamette National Forest. The Forest Service started removing large swaths of trees following the 2020 Labor Day fires, triggering a trio of conservation groups to sue the department, claiming the project was rushed and vastly overestimated the number of burned trees that needed to be removed. US District Judge Michael McShane agreed with the conservation groups Friday, saying the Forest Service should complete an environmental review prior to continuing tree removal.

• People who preform in-person work for the city of Portland must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 3, 2022, city officials announced Friday. The mandate applies to approximately 2,500 vendors, consultants, contractors, and volunteers who spend more than 15-minutes inside City facilities. Additionally, starting next week, anyone working inside city-owned buildings will be required to wear KN95 masks.

• Governor Kate Brown is on her way to Glasgow, Scotland, to participate in the United Nations Climate Summit. Brown plans to discuss Oregon’s climate goals, as well as how the state has been experiencing climate change-fueled weather events, like the 2020 fires and 2021 heat dome.

In national news:

• The FBI searched two locations connected to conservative group Project Veritas Thursday while investigating how pages from President Biden’s daughter’s diary were published on a right-wing website ahead of the 2020 election.

• Remember when Facebook said it was going to stop using its facial recognition software and delete one billion facial recognition scan from its system? Well, it turns out those changes don’t apply to Meta—Facebook’s rebranded parent company—which will keep and use the software for its upcoming metaverse products.

• US House Democrats delayed voting on President Biden’s $1.85 trillion social and environmental package Friday as moderate and progressive lawmakers continue fighting over what should be included in the bill.

For fun:

Support The Portland Mercury

• If you need a drink, you won’t want to miss the Mercury’s “Shot & Beer” week, featuring creative, one-of-a-kind pairings of shots and beers from your fave local drinkeries. It all goes down from November 8 through 14, and you can get a taste of all the offerings here!

• Plus, ABBA just released their first album in 40 years—good for them! But it’s a sunny Friday afternoon and I’m feeling celebratory, so let’s listen to a classic, shall we?