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Rep. Peter DeFazio
Rep. Peter DeFazio

Good afternoon, Portland! Here's the latest on local news, national news, and a little bit of fun.

In local news:

• Rep. Peter DeFazio is retiring. The Democratic congressman who represents much of Southwest Oregon announced today that he won't seek reelection next year, leaving his seat wide open. Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle has already said she plans to run for the position, and State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin is considering a run as well. First elected in 1986, DeFazio is Oregon's longest-serving congressperson, and rose to chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Hey, we'll always have the memories:

• Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan has been working to open six "Safe Rest Villages"—organized camps for houseless residents that have been the subject of some controversy—before the end of this year. Now, KGW reports, that deadline has been pushed back to early 2022. (In fact, Ryan's office has so far only announced the location of three of the six planned sites.)

• An update on this case of police violence against a Portland protester:

• Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown announced a special legislative session for the Oregon Legislature to address protections for renters who've been financially impacted by COVID-19. The session will begin on December 13, in the midst of a funding crisis within the state's emergency rental assistance program.

In national news:

• The United States now has its first confirmed case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, and it's in neighboring California. The person reportedly is fully vaccinated, but has not yet received their booster shot. It's still unknown how effective vaccines will be against the new variant.

• By now, you probably know that the Supreme Court is poised to uphold a terribly restrictive Mississippi abortion law at best, and completely overturn Roe v. Wade at worst. Here's some helpful analysis explaining how exactly we got to this point:

• Stacey Abrams announced today that she's running for governor of Georgia—again, after essentially being scammed out of a possible win in 2018 thanks to voter suppression. Abrams is famous for eschewing the common wisdom of the Democratic party and turning out the vote among people of color in the 2020 election, which helped flip the Senate and secure President Joe Biden's win. Let's hope she can do it again.

• By now, it's an axiom: If there's an awful thing you can imagine, Donald Trump probably did it. Today's iteration of this rule is the revelation that Trump had already tested positive for COVID when he debated Biden on September 29, 2020—almost a full week before the public was informed of Trump's positive COVID status.

And just for fun:

• Chag Sameach! In honor of Hanukkah, we've got an ode to the Reuben sandwich, which Mercury contributor Ben Colemen writes is "my favorite culinary product of the Jewish diaspora."

• Finally: Get out there and go see some art!