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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Has this ever happened to you? You're at a bar in Portland looking over the menu of IPAs on tap when you spot a slushy machine behind the counter, churning around some colorful, delectable-looking concoction. Your interest is piqued.

"How much for the frozen thing?" you ask the bartender, unsure what the right term is for the frozen beverage that caught your eye. ("Slurpee" just refers to the trademarked 7-Eleven thing, right? The bartender's kinda cute, and you don't want to embarrass yourself. You're already kind of regretting this whole interaction.)

"Our slushies are $12," the bartender replies.

Oh. "Oh...uh, I guess I'll just get the Breakside IPA," you say. Stupid! You don't even like that one, not after you drank five of them at your cousin's graduation party and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to hold down Costco sheet cake. 

The bartender doesn't check your ID, even though you just turned 26 and some people have said you could still pass for 23. It's game over. Maybe you'll go home and write a Craigslist Missed Connection post about the bartender, but you probably shouldn't do that. You vow to never return to the bar again. 

Sounds bad, right? Luckily, the Mercury's Summer of Slushies starts on SATURDAY, JULY 1 which means some great bars around town will be serving up $8 slushies for the entire month of July. I'll still advise you not to write Missed Connections posts about the bartenders, though. 

Okay, okay. For everyone still reading this post after that little ditty, how about some NEWS


 Portland's Street Response program is dying (rather, it's being killed), and yesterday, Program Manager Robyn Burek announced she'd be stepping down from the program after leading it since it began in 2020. This is just another hit for one of Portland's best recent initiatives. 

• Oregon has a new Secretary of State: Gov. Tina Kotek is naming LaVonne Griffin-Valade to take over the position that Shemia Fagan vacated in May after her moonlighting scandal. Griffin-Valade is Portland's former city auditor, but she left political life in 2014 to pursue writing. There will be an election for Secretary of State in 2024, so Griffin-Valade will only be in the position for 18 months unless she chooses to run for reelection (and wins). 

• As part of our 2023 Queer Guide, we looked at the story of Martin Cerezo, who was dishonorably discharged from the Navy for being gay. Over three decades later, his mother managed to get his status changed to honorable and now she wants that simple dignity for all vets. 

• I'm sure I'm not going to be the last person to bring this up in a Mercury morning news roundup, but let's get the conversation started early. It's fireworks day next week, and I know some people are obsessed with playing with fire, but please do not light off fireworks! There's a ban for a reason, folks, and it's not because Portland officials hate freedom. Also, I just got a new kitten, and he doesn't like the sound. (Kitten pics incoming.)


• This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to strike down affirmative action in college admissions. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson—the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court—summed it up best in her dissent: “With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.” Yup! This is not good, folks.

• There's been a lot of talk about the ocean recently, but let's turn our attention for a moment onto the even more horrifying, infinite void that is outer space. Scientists have been able to observe "the faint ripples" of black holes that are "gently stretching and squeezing everything in the universe." I guess this is a big deal in the world of astrophysics, but I can't think about it for too long or I'll freak out. 

• In "slow news day" alert, I guess we all now know that President Biden uses a CPAP machine for his sleep apnea. Is this info worth putting in Fall Out Boy's 21st Century "We Didn't Start the Fire" cover? I'm just happy for Jill, who is probably getting a good night's sleep for once in her life after having to hear Joe snoring for 50 years. 

• Finally, happy almost weekend. Enjoy the sun!