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Good Morning, Portland! It's like some opposite Santana ft. Rob Thomas situation out there this morning: a cold one. We're heading up to 45 degrees today, and then BACK DOWN to below freezing. Forecast for next week also looks cold as shit.
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• Oregon lawmakers are once again attempting to float a statewide ban on selling prepared food packaged in single-use containers made of polystyrene foam (AKA Styrofoam). OPB's Dirk VanderHart reports "the bill got its first hearing before a Senate committee on Tuesday, with an array of environmental advocates lining up in support—even as restaurant representatives and industry players argued the bill is overkill." Previous attempts at passing a statewide a ban have fizzled and died, although many cities have issued their own.
• From the inbox: Over the summer, an invasive insect called the emerald ash borer was found for the first time on the West Coast—in Forest Grove. This is terrible news for ash trees and ash tree fans, as the jewel beetle is considered the most destructive bug to forests in North America. However, in anticipation of this, the Oregon Department of Forestry has spent the past three years collecting seeds from Oregon ash trees. "Researchers with the USDA will plant ash seeds where emerald ash borer is present in significant numbers and see if any of the seedling trees show resistance to the insect,” ODF Invasive Species Specialist Wyatt Williams explained in a press release. “If some trees survive, those resistant trees could become the basis for reintroducing the species to western Oregon. Resistant trees would be crossed with other Oregon ash to establish resistance while retaining genetic diversity.”
• This news brief definitely got the staff write-up treatment, but it seems worth noting:
An incident in which a Portland police officer used deadly force is under investigation after the officer struck a man in the head with a shotgun while responding to a report of a stolen car.— OPB (@OPB) February 14, 2023
• ICYMI, from yesterday's inbox: Portland City Council and the Portland Police Association (the union representing rank and file Portland police officers) have declared an impasse during their negotiations over body camera policy. That means that the city and police union will now enter arbitration—AKA a third party comes and helps them negotiate. While negotiations have been behind closed doors, the sticking point is most likely whether or not the police should be allowed to review the body camera footage before writing a report. The city and union will release their specific policy requests Friday. KGW also has a report on the impasse.
• Rumors of Portland's death have been grossly exaggerated:
With this lease, it looks like First Republic is not just remaining in Downtown Portland, but slightly expanding their footprint. https://t.co/RcvPDteJR2— Iain (@maccoinnich) February 14, 2023
• Did someone send you get a Mercury Reader Valentine? There could be one with your name, describing situations you've never been in! That one is a) also for you, b) for an alternate timeline you, c) creepy, or d) whatever you want it to be?
• Speaking of multiple choice: Millennials get out your pots and pans—we know you love a quiz. Do the other generations like quizzes. [The Silent Generation wordlessly stares.] After a decidedly not-very-sexy pandemic break, the Mercury's annual SEX SURVEY is has returned to ask WHAT you're doing (in the sack), HOW you're doing it, and WHO (not specifically) you're doing it to! It's anonymous and your test helps contribute to a fuller picture of Portland.
IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
• This morning, nearly 200 New York Times contributors—including names like Carmen Maria Machado, Alexander Chee, Roxanne Gay, Rebecca Solnit, and Michael Deforge, among others—published an open letter, condemning the paper's "reporting on transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people." The letter, which was addressed to Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, asserted: "the Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources," before listing several examples to support the collective petition for accountability and movement. Read the whole letter here. Hell Gate NYC also reported on the situation.
• Balloon news: Now China is mad the US shot down their balloon?
China accused the U.S. of flying high-altitude balloons over the Chinese regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, pointing the finger at Washington amid growing scrutiny over Beijing’s global surveillance efforts.https://t.co/jyxZdg6JCr— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 15, 2023
• President Biden's nominee for IRS commissioner, Daniel Werfel will navigate a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing today. Ahead of the hearing, Werfel's prepared testimony says he will commit to not increasing tax audits on businesses and households making less than $400,000 per year—which flies in the face of a current misinformation campaign being waged by the GOP.
• Ukraine news: Well, this sounds fucking awful.
Russia is holding at least 6,000 Ukrainian children in camps, according to a U.S.-backed report. Most of the children are being kept at “integration programs” that are designed to immerse them in pro-Russian ideals, the report said.https://t.co/ryDZfxDDYq— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 15, 2023
• Cautiously excited for this 72-page fall fable from Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. Described by the publisher as "a fable for grown-ups," the short picture book tells the tale of a kingdom afflicted with unexplainable calamities, "Hoping to end the torment, the king dispatches his knights to discover the source of the mysterious events. Years later, a single battered knight returns."
• And now we sing the somewhat mournful, somewhat annoying, always tragic song of Wednesday mornings:
@scorefollower #duet with @lilmsfancpants #transcription #sheetmusic #notation ♬ original sound - Haley🤷♀️