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GOOD AFTERNOON, PORTLAND! And hellooooooo, love birds! Valentines season is HERE, and if you want the object of your affection to know exactly how you feel, may I suggest writing them a FREE Mercury Reader Valentine? It's easy, it's hella romantic, and "expressing emotions" is "cool" from what I hear. And now I will "express" some NEWS.


• In a completely un-shocking turn of events, tobacco and vape retailers in the region are attempting to sue the pants off Multnomah County following their ban of flavored tobacco products, which kicks into effect in 2024. But will the Oregon Legislature squash their plans by passing a statewide flavored tobacco ban? Abe Asher has the flavorful details.

• Today in "HEYYYY... WAITASECOND!": Remember that voter-approved ballot measure that would tax high-income households to help pay for homeless services, and that other measure which also passed and would fund universal preschool? Turns out thousands of these rich people have not paid these taxes, which means we're potentially missing out on millions of dollars for these important programs. (But is the city at least partially to blame for the collection and tax rollout? 🤔)

• Our pals at Bolts magazine have an interesting investigative report they're sharing with us about terminally ill Oregonians who are languishing in the state’s prisons. What will it take for these people to secure what's known as a "compassionate release"? Turns out the Oregon legislature is going to reintroduce the idea in the upcoming legislative session—and it's a good thing, because other states already have a big head start (plus it's the right—and cost effective—thing to do).

• Reminder that close to 600 Portland city workers—who do such varied necessary jobs as deal with icy roads, sewage problems, and biohazards in parks—are planning to go on strike TOMORROW MORNING (February 2) if the city does not agree with their demands of better wages and safety. Catch up with what's at stake with this story from our Isabella Garcia, and stay tuned to see what happens.


• In their never-ending quest to find new and undiscovered classified documents, the FBI just finished a search of yet ANOTHER residence of Prez Joe Biden—this time at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware—and they found... NOTHING. (I am both weirdly surprised, relieved, and disappointed?)

• In other Biden family drama: Perennial Republican target Hunter Biden is going on the offensive, and is asking the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe into Trump's allies (such as creepy Rudy Giuliani) who he says are guilty of trafficking stolen personal information from his now famous laptop. (File that under "what's good for the goose.")

• Today marked the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the Black man beaten and murdered by five Memphis police officers three weeks ago. Along with tearful words, many spoke about the desperate need for police reform, encouraging Congress to act swiftly before there's another needless death at the hands of police.

• More trouble for serial lying Republican George Santos: Now the feds are investigating the Representative for his involvement in an accused GoFundMe scheme, in which Santos agreed to raise $3,000 for a life-saving surgery for a disabled U.S. Navy veteran's pet pit bull... and allegedly skated with the money. 

• And finally... my daughter may loathe me, but I come by it honestly.