The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

Good afternoon, Portland! I don't know how you make the time between dodging stray bullets and losing catalytic converters, but thanks very much for joining us for THE NEWS


• Here's a little news that's sure to warm your heart: Brian Hunzeker, the police officer who smeared former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty by leaking that she was the suspect in a hit-and-run when she had nothing to do with it, has his job back. Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Hunzeker last year for his role in the leak, but a state labor arbitrator ordered that the city reinstate him. Isabella Garcia has the details. 

• More than 600 city maintenance and operations workers with LiUNA! Local 483 are on strike as of this morning after they turned down the city's final contract offer. The workers want a cost-of-living increase to keep pace with inflation, no cap for future cost-of-living increases, and wage adjustments that would keep the city’s pay competitive with private sector work. Isabella Garcia has more.

• State Rep. Travis Nelson, who is Black, tweeted on Wednesday night that he's been pulled over by police leaving Salem twice this week—an experience that a number of Black lawmakers and residents of color are all too familiar with. A 2021 study by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission found that Oregon State Police disproportionately stop drivers of color. 

Tina Kotek told the director of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission to resign, and, you guessed it, that's exactly what he did. Steve Meeks is out at the OLCC, with Kotek proposing a new 50-cent-per-bottle liquor price increase in her first budget as governor. 


• House Republicans succeeded in booting Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota off the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a party line vote this morning, punishing the third-term Congresswoman for speaking out against U.S. imperialism and fighting for human rights. The House GOP did the voting, but it's worth noting that the House Dems set the stage for Omar's removal by painting her as antisemitic and censuring her during her first years in office. 

• Manuel Esteban Paez Terán is believed to have become the first environmental defender to be killed in the United States when he was fatally shot by police while protecting a forest in Atlanta scheduled to become the site of a police training facility. According to this piece in The Guardian, the shooting is part of a terrifying trend of states targeting climate defenders. 

• One day after Tyre Nichols' funeral, the Memphis Police Department says its officers participated in a “police-involved shooting” at a library that left one person dead and an officer in critical condition.

• The family of Anthony Lowe are taking steps to sue the city of Huntington Park after Lowe, a double amputee, was fatally shot by police shortly after a bystander-shot video showed him fleeing from police along the sidewalk. "Let’s call it what it is," the family's attorney, Christian Contreras, told reporters. "It’s a straight murder."

• Finally... happy February.