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Good morning, Portland! We have officially entered the time of year I call “the doldrums,” the strange no-man’s-land that falls between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The snow has all but melted, your suitcase that Southwest Airlines lost in the chaos of holiday travel should be showing up soon, and your work week consists of an elaborate plan to arrange your desktop folders to make a smiley face. Your lunch consists of two Christmas cookies and a leftover ham. It’s a weird time. But, despite the vague stagnancy of this time of year, there’s one thing that doesn’t slow down: the news! Let’s get up to speed. 

- A new federal report shows the number of people experiencing homelessness in Oregon has spiked in recent years, while national numbers have remained relatively unchanged. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Oregon saw a 22 percent increase this year in people sleeping on the streets since 2020. That rate lies in stark contrast with national numbers—the US saw just a 0.3 percent increase in unsheltered homelessness in 2022 since 2020. 

- Although the numbers are still out on how many unhoused Oregonians passed away this past year, Portlanders gathered last week to memorialize homeless neighbors who died in 2022:

- PSA: If you have the tools and time, clear out your neighborhood storm drains today. The city predicts the combination of snowmelt and rainfall could lead to flooding in neighborhoods with blocked drains from foliage 

- It’s not everyday local politicians publish books, especially ones about the exact policy issues they govern over. Make time for this Q&A with Metro President Lynn Peterson on her new book all about transportation planning (and bookmark it to refer back to for when she’s making weighty decisions about regional transportation plans in the future). 

- A report from the Trevor Project finds that most LGBTQ+ youth in Oregon have experienced anxiety and depression—and almost half have considered suicide. Nearly 60 percent of this same population reportedly wanted mental health care but were not able to get it, mostly out of fear of not being taken seriously. Dig into the data and find resources to help queer teens in Oregon in this OPB story

- Living Grinch Texas Gov. Greg Abbott dropped three buses of migrants off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in below-freezing weather on Christmas Eve. Few travelers were dressed for the weather, let alone prepared to stay in DC. Local churches, restaurants, and nonprofits pulled together to help the discarded migrants, yet it doesn’t erase the fact that Abbott’s political stunt could have been fatal. 

- For a deeper dive into how our country’s batshit immigration policies change the course of families’ lives:

- Rapper Tory Lanez was found guilty Friday in the Los Angeles trial over the 2020 shooting of artist Megan Thee Stallion. The case made Megan the target of cruel public scrutiny, racism, and sexism—and her bravery for participating in the trial was recognized by LA’s top prosecutor at its conclusion. “You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation. Women, especially Black women, are afraid to report crimes like assault and sexual violence because they are too often not believed.”

- The US experienced record-breaking cold temperatures over the holiday weekend, placing about 60 percent of all Americans under some kind of winter weather advisory (and canceling thousands of flights). The massive winter storm killed an estimated 50 people across the US, with more than half the deaths occurring in western New York, with local leaders characterizing it as “once-in-a-lifetime storm.”  

- George Santos, the newly elected US Representative from New York, admitted Monday that he lied about his job experience and college education while successfully campaigning to win his US House seat. Not only did Santos admit to never graduating college or working at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but he clarified that no, he also isn’t Jewish. Just another trustworthy dude sauntering easily into Congress. 

- I leave you with your favorite new advice columnist: