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Good morning, Portland! It’s going to be rainy alllll day, so plan accordingly. On to the news!
In local news:
• Good news—we’re rich (kind of)! Thanks to a surge in Portland’s business tax revenue, the city has an extra $34.8 million in public dollars for the annual city budget. Mayor Wheeler has decided to use the one-time funds to fill gaps in some of the bureaus’ requested budgets. Check out the breakdown of where the funds are going here.
• A majority of union members at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center voted to go on strike Wednesday evening, according to the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA). Nurses with the union say Providence has discriminated against nurses who “engage in union protected activity,” like speaking up for patient safety. Providence St. Vincent’s 1,600 ONA nurses could go on strike after 10-day negotiation period.
An Ashland-based reporter arrested in Medford in 2020 during the city’s sweep of a Medford homeless camp has been given a trial date of this August on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and trespassing, and faces up to a year in jail. https://t.co/2YHzigzMuU
— Ashland.news (@AshlandORNews) May 4, 2022
• Multnomah County’s homeless population has increased by 30 percent since 2019, according to new data from the county. Approximately 1,200 more people are homeless now, most of whom are living “unsheltered”—people living on the street as opposed to in transitional housing or emergency shelters. The county notes that the increase is almost assuredly an undercount of the actual homeless population.
• Election check-in: As of Wednesday, about 2.4 percent of ballots have been returned statewide, according to the Oregon elections division. That’s on pace to match Oregon’s 2018 primary, which reported 2.5 percent returned ballots at this point. If your ballot is languishing unopened on your coffee table because sorting through all of those candidates sounds like a nightmare, check out the Mercury’s endorsements—we did the nightmarish part for you!
In national and international news:
• Welp, it finally happened: The US has surpassed one million COVID-19 deaths, according to calculations by NBC News. For reference, one million people is approximately 40 times the capacity at Providence Park, or the entire population of San Jose, California—the 10th largest city in the nation.
• A new study from the Trans Youth Project indicates that young children who transition to a different gender—including changing their name, pronouns, hairstyle, and clothing—are “likely to continue identifying as that gender five years later.” The study followed 317 children ages 3 to 12 who socially transitioned and found that only 2.5 percent of them reverted back to the gender they were assigned at birth after five years. The study did not say whether experiencing transphobia factored into the decisions of the youth who de-transitioned, but all parents in the study were considered “fully supportive” of their children’s gender identity.
• Now THIS is an entanglement:
Bolivian river dolphins were photographed with an anaconda in their mouths in August 2021. The aroused males could have been having a sexual romp with each other before the snake became entangled. https://t.co/wOyrIe6CUL pic.twitter.com/tADtnIbPWv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 4, 2022
• Southern Californians should expect significant water restrictions this summer as the West’s “megadrought” continues to worsen. By the end of April, California only had 4 percent of its usual snowpack, triggering mandates for water suppliers to either introduce volumetric limitations or require customers to reduce outdoor watering to one day a week no later than June. The Southern California water district is also asking customers to reduce their overall water usage by 35 percent.
• The European Union is proposing a ban on Russia oil—a major move considering the EU receives nearly 30 percent of its oil imports from Russia, far more than any other supplier. In the first two months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia exported $66 billion in fossil fuels; the EU’s purchases represent 71 percent of that money. But, the ban would put major pressure on the EU to find alternate sources of oil very quickly.
• Ah, to be a gator zooming down a natural waterslide: