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Two people wearing masks high-five
"Yay, we're wearing our masks because we care about community health!" Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

Good morning, voters! Wait… what do mean you haven’t filled out your May primary ballot yet? Well, no worries, the Mercury has you covered with our handy endorsement guide! Now, onto the news.

In local news:

• Multnomah County officials are encouraging everyone to wear a mask indoors until COVID cases and hospitalizations start to decrease. The county has been recording approximately 350 COVID cases per day, up from less than 100 per day in the beginning of April. According to the Oregon Health & Science University, the current surge of cases is supposed to peak in early June.

• Can you make flower flavored ice cream without it being impossibly boujie and annoying? At Salt & Straw, the answer is yes. Our Suzette Smith tried all five of the ice cream shop’s seasonal flower flavors and ranked them for your convenience.

• The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the city of Portland’s ability to deny Zenith Energy a land permit Wednesday by upholding a previous land use board’s ruling. That’s another win for the city in the ongoing legal saga against Zenith, a crude oil transportation company that has a facility along the Willamette River in Northwest Portland. It’s all very legal and convoluted, but the general takeaway is that, so far, things are looking good for Portland as the city takes an unprecedented step in challenging the oil industry.

• Have you noticed that the DMV lines seem extra long recently or the soonest appointment is more than a week away? It may be because Oregon DMVs are facing a significant worker shortage, with some regions operating at a 25 percent worker deficit. Rural areas of the state have been particularly impacted by the shortage.

In national and international news:

• A man opened fire in a Dallas hair salon in Korea town Wednesday afternoon and shot three Korean women before fleeing. Police are still looking for the suspect and they have not ruled out that it was a hate crime. Violence against asian people has be rising over the past few years, but particularly during the pandemic. All three women are in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

• North Korea reported its first-ever outbreak of COVID cases and went into a nationwide lockdown Thursday. North Korean leaders have claimed that they have been able to keep the virus out of the country for the past two years, something that has been highly doubted by pretty much every other world leader given the fact that the virus has spread globally and isn’t stopped by imaginary country borders. It’s unclear how large the viral outbreak is in the country.

• Hi class, today’s lesson is about instant karma:

• London police have fined more than 100 government officials and their friends for breaching COVID regulations by attending parties and gatherings while the country was in lockdown, AKA “partygate.” Prime Minister Borris Johnson admitted last month that he was one of the people fined, which makes him the first British leader to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office (what an honor). Nearly 200,000 people have died from COVID in Britain, the second highest death toll in Europe.

• The conservative movement to ban books is now targeting e-readers and reading apps. In Nashville, Austin, and some areas of Florida, schools districts have cut off students' access to e-reading services that became vital during the pandemic. The school districts claim that they don’t want students having access to materials that haven’t been vetted by the district’s own librarians. In Nashville, a superintendent cut e-reading access for 40,000 students after a parent found books supporting gay pride.