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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! And welcome to our winter wonderland. The near record-breaking snow has slowed to a stop (at least temporarily) in the city, but continues south and west to the coast, and it's a chilly 27 degrees this morning. So stay home and READ SOME NEWS! 

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• We'll learn more about this "snow thing" in a minute, but first, THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT RIGHT HERE: Yesterday afternoon, as many of you were fighting the traffic home, our city council decided you shouldn't be allowed to elect a transparency watchdog... because they love transparency so much? City Auditor Simone Rede brought the proposal to council, who could've taken an easy win and approved the idea which would've been voted on in May, so the new transparency advocate position would be in place and ready to rock when Charter Reform kicks off in 2025. BUT! As our Isabella Garcia writes, not only did every member of the council vote to table the decision indefinitely—claiming they didn't have enough time to vet it (Narrator's voice: They had plenty of time)—they sprung a surprise, head-spinning, UN-transparent resolution on the room at the last minute, unanimously voting in favor of making the auditor review the city's policies on transparency, and offer suggestions on how to improve it. In other words, THE JOB OF THE TRANSPARENCY ADVOCATE THEY JUST VOTED AGAINST. (Long story short: Our council hates charter reform, wants to torpedo it, and it's your job as a good Portland citizen to vote every one of them out in 2024.)

• Phew. Now let's talk "snow": Almost 11 inches (!) of the white stuff fell in Portland last night, the second-highest total ever. But wait! Apparently there is more on the way as forecasters are predicting more snow showers—some heavy—this morning before stopping in the afternoon. We can still expect frigid temps into Friday, with the high only expected to reach 36 degrees.

• Meanwhile, all Portland schools are closed today, more than 3,000 people lost power in Southwest parts of the city last night, riders on TriMet should expect significant delays in service, and snow plows are diligently working to clear the roads—which isn't easy, since a lot of nincompoops abandoned their cars in the middle of the streets during last night's traffic jam. Way to go, ding-dongs.

• Keep an eye on your houseless neighbors:

• The Portland Police Bureau has suspended Sgt. Jeffrey McDaniel for two and a half weeks without pay for allegedly including a slide in a training presentation that depicted a cop beating the shit out of a "dirty hippie" protester, along with an offensive poem of sorts that's too ignorant to repeat here. McDaniel strenuously denies he added the slide, even though, according to the bureau's investigation, all evidence points to him. Stand by for an apoplectic cry-baby hissy fit to be thrown by our local police union.

• Ooh-la-la! Take a sneaky peek at just some of the gorgeous cocktails you can get all week (and for only $8 each) during the Mercury's HIGHBALL WEEK! (Look, this snow is gonna melt and when it does? You're gonna be READY,)

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

• Our winter storm is also half-the-nation's winter storm, as snow pummels parts of California, moves through Arizona and into the northern Plains, and bringing the possibility of record snowfall in Minnesota (where the snow is never a joke). Thousands of flights have either been delayed or canceled. 

Apropos of nothing:

• Absolutely tragic: According to Florida police, a shooter accused of murdering an Orlando woman returned to the scene of the crime and then shot and killed four more people, including a journalist on the scene and a 9-year-old girl.

• Today in "right on brand": Former Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich knowingly refused to release a report from his office that provided evidence that a series of 2020 election fraud claims were utter bullshit, as the rest of us who don't watch Fox News already knew. Ummm... what's the phrase? Oh, yeah... LOCK HIM UP!

• Speaking of LOCK HIM UP: 

• Never a good idea: "Alex Murdaugh testifies in his own defense at murder trial."

• And finally... here's some truth: