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Good morning, Portland! Let's jump right in.

In local news:

• The Oregon Secretary of State is calling for the state to better support Oregon’s 17 community colleges after an audit found continuing equity gaps, a lack of transparency, and inadequate monitoring data. While the audit released this week shows improvement since 2015, the SOS recommended adjustments to how colleges evaluate the effectiveness of student support and called on the Oregon legislature bolster staffing at community colleges.

• From the inbox: Portland has seen 67 traffic fatalities as of Monday, according to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). That’s the same number of traffic fatalities PPB recorded in 2021, with two more weeks of dark, wet, and possibly icy conditions left in the year. Notably, 32 of this year’s fatalities were pedestrians—a 70 year high. PPB shared these numbers to media outlets “as a plea to motorists to be safe on our roadways.”

• The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality voted Monday to approve a rule banning the sale of new gas-powered passenger vehicles in Oregon by 2035 (new hybrid vehicles are still allowed under the ban). The ban is an effort to help meet Oregon’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050. The transportation sector is responsible for approximately 40 percent of carbon emissions in the state. 

• Portland is the 14th most fun city in the US, according to a (questionably accurate) study from Wallet Hub. More importantly, we outranked Seattle(!) which landed the 22nd spot.

• A reminder: TriMet and the Portland Streetcar will be providing free rides from 8 pm until end of service on New Year’s Eve. TriMet also extends MAX service on NYE, with most lines operating until at least 2 am. Check out the extended schedule here and stay safe!

In national and international news:

• Pandemic-era US border restrictions were expect to expire Wednesday at midnight, but will now continue due to intervention from the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted a request from a group of Republican attorneys Monday to extend the restrictions, which allows border agents to expel migrants without offering asylum per US law, and ordered the Biden administration to respond by 5 pm EST Tuesday.

• Much beloved California mountain lion P-22 was euthanized this weekend after he was found to have severe health problems, including kidney disease and injuries from being recently hit by a car. The mountain lion was the face of a campaign to build the world’s biggest wildlife bridge in Los Angeles—a $90 million project that is expect to be complete in 2025. P-22 gained celebrity in 2013 after being photographed by a National Geographic photographer in front of the Hollywood sign.

• Wells Fargo was fined $1.7 billion by federal regulators Tuesday for “widespread mismanagement” of over 16 million consumer accounts. The bank repeatedly wrongfully foreclosed homes, illegally repossessed vehicles, and incorrectly charged fees, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Wells Fargo has also been ordered o pay an additional $2 billion to compensate impacted consumers.

• The Associated Press found that police and other authorities in cities across the world have used contact tracing surveillance tech created for the pandemic as a way to track and surveil citizens far beyond public health purposes. In China, authorities have used health codes—scannable QR codes assigned to each citizen that uses GPS and other data to track a person’s possible exposure to COVID—to squander protests by turning possible protesters’ health codes red, which requires them to quarantine, even though they had not tested positive for COVID.

• Christmas managing to sneak up on me every year without fail: