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Good Afternoon, Portland! Do you remember that episode of 7th Heaven where the middle daughter is moping because she thinks there's nothing special about her, and then Mom Camden lays it out like: You're special because you were conceived on Valentine's Day? GROSS, MOM. Think you can do better? Tease your sweetheart—or (SIGH) leave them a sweet message via our FREE Mercury Reader Valentines.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• A group of City of Portland office workers—nearly 900 administrative specialists, coordinators, and analysts, among others—have launched an independent union drive, in a “final push” for all non-management city workers to be covered by union protections. Abe Asher explains the origins of the City of Portland Professional Workers Union.

• Whether you heard about Street Disco from their highly varied pop-ups (tacos! pizza! lamb!) or just chatter about the brick-and-mortar location that opened in the fall, you can believe the hype—but you probably can't get the same entrée twice. Read the new review from food critic Andrea Damewood.

• Will Farrell was recently sighted in Portland, visiting for allegedly basketball reasons. Unlike other snacking celebs, Farrell made a highly reasonable choice and helped himself to some Lauretta Jeans.

IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

• Although the immediate danger of the nation's debt ceiling has been temporarily downgraded to "stuff we'd better figure out by summer"—thanks to the Treasury Department's wily machinations—lawmakers continue to clash over how to resolve the impending limit. As we've written before, Republicans say they want spending cuts to secure their votes. However, the New York Times reports that Republicans haven't been able to agree on specific cuts, even within their own party, which leaves those willing to negotiate not knowing even how to begin to work towards compromise. 

What ARE Republicans doing this week? Well, the Republican-led House is working to end the pandemic's public health emergency (although President Biden already said he will end national and public health emergencies on May 11), and a resolution "denouncing the horrors of socialism." So basically, they're goofing off and writing in their dream journals. Cool.

• Meanwhile, the State Department told Congress today that Russia has not allowed US inspectors into its nuclear weapons facilities, which they have to do under the treaty known as New START, which is actually the only remaining arms control treaty between the US and Russia. It was renewed in February 2021.

• Amidst multiple calls for his resignation and ongoing investigations over his campaign finances, lies about his resume, and lies about his background, Rep. George Santos announced to his Republican colleagues that he will temporarily step down from the two committees to which he was appointed. Does "temporarily" imply that some of the lies will change into not lies? Oh, people will forget? Okay.

A new Tiktok where Washington Post's Carmella Boykin explains a complicated political issue, primarily through "looks," dropped today. 

@washingtonpost

President Biden said that he will end the national emergencies to combat the coronavirus outbreak on May 11. This declaration came as Biden announced his opposition to House Republicans’ efforts to end the emergency declarations immediately.

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