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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! In this week's weather you can expect "business in the front" (cloudy with showers, Mon-Wed), and a "party in the back" (partly to mostly sunny skies Thurs-Sat). Now let's party down to the business of NEWS.


• Good news: The workers of Laborers’ union Local 483 and the City of Portland came to a tentative agreement yesterday on a contract they've been negotiating for a year, which means for now... the STRIKE IS OFF. More than 600 critical city workers—who did such unenviable tasks as clearing ice of roads, fixing sewage leaks, and removing hazardous material from parks—were on strike since Thursday, until the city finally agreed to offer a 12% wage increase for all union members by July to get them up to a livable, competitive wage. While it's not perfect deal for the workers, it sets the stage for their next contract negotiation.

• The Oregonian profiled a large homeless camp in California—one run by the group Mayor Wheeler has chosen to manage Portland's proposed camps—and while this particular one doesn't have a lot of complaints, there are two major differences: It's half the size of the Mayor's internment camps, and the residents aren't criminalized if they choose not to be forced into one.

• Remember the guy who was rescued by the Oregon Coast Guard last week when the yacht he was on capsized in rough seas at the mouth of the Columbia River? Turns out... he stole that yacht. And also it turns out... he left a dead fish on the front porch of the Goonies house in Astoria? (Why do I feel these crimes are just the tip of this particular guy's iceberg?)

• If you're looking for some hot new music coming out of the PNW, then don't miss our team-up of Suzette Smith and Megan Seling as they introduce ten certifiable BANGERS in the debut edition of Ten Picks for Bandcamp Friday.

• Stern reminder: Don't be a "Valentine's Butthole"! Send your sweetie a FREE Mercury Reader Valentine for the whole world to see! (Did we mention it's free? It's FREE!)  


• A massive double earthquake in Turkey and Syria has so far killed more than 2,300 people. The first was a 7.8-magnitude quake that was soon followed by another at 7.5-magnitude that leveled buildings, and left hundreds buried in the rubble. Rescue operations are underway in what already is being called a humanitarian crisis.

• China is acting all mad because we shot down what they are still calling "a weather balloon." Meanwhile I personally can't understand why we're still talking about this at all. 

• Congratulations on record breaking wins by Beyoncé at last night's Grammys, where she took home a whopping 32 (!) awards. Another record breaker: Singer Kim Petras (of that Sam Smith banger "Unholy") who is the first transgender woman to bring home a Grammy.

• Bad news for Trump, the Koch organization (the megalomaniacal villains who are the biggest funders of Republican bullshit across the country) say they will once again be throwing their money in the upcoming election behind a single GOP candidate—but it ain't gonna be Trump.

• And finally... here's your Monday dose of TRUTH.