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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! We've got another mostly sunny and warm week ahead of us, and that means it's perfect timing for the Mercury's SUMMER OF SLUSHIES which is now underway! That's right: Frosty, boozy cocktails made by Portland's finest barkeeps, and for only $8 each, every day all damn month long. Ahhh, it's refreshing just thinking about it! Now here's some possibly refreshing NEWS.


• Here's a good idea: Portland's downtown O'Bryant Square—which is currently being rebuilt following structural damage—will most likely be renamed "Darcelle XV Plaza," after the beloved drag performer who died earlier this year. City Council still has to vote on it, and our Courtney Vaughn has the details.

• Speaking of Portland's goddesses of drag, the 48-hour, record-breaking Drag-A-Thon will kick off this afternoon (Monday) at Darcelle XV. Our Suzette Smith has been covering it from the get-go, but don't miss our Drag-A-Thon live blog in which the Mercury will be watching and reporting on the fabulous festivities! 

• Today in ignorant political theater: Conservative Portland commissioner Rene Gonzales and his waffling buddy Mayor Ted Wheeler are pretending to be simply AGHAST by the county health department's decision to distribute aluminum foil and straws to fentanyl smokers—a common nationwide program that has been proven to reduce the significant harm that results from injecting the drugs... which they're gonna do anyway, ding-dongs, and you can't get someone to stop being an addict if they're too busy being DEAD. Gonzalez and Wheeler know this, and are using the opportunity to misinform and inflame the public, while pushing Portland even further to the right. VOTE THEM ALL OUT OF OFFICE... WITH GUSTO.

• Speaking of ignorant political theater: As completely expected, Portland City Council's most recent cruel anti-homeless ban—which kicked off on Friday—has already racked up its first legal challenge from the Oregon Law Center, which explains what most of us already suspected: the ban violates both state and federal law. (But the point wasn't to make things better, the point was—as always with this particular council—cynical political theater.)

• Something to be on the lookout for: The Oregonian is weirdly proud that they're now using an AI company that's helping them write some of their stories (just the real estate articles... for now). Anyway, the company's name is simultaneously hilarious and chilling: "UNITED ROBOTS." 🤖 😬 (Unclear whether robots have taken over the O's editorial board... but that would explain a few things!)

• Residents and some politicos in Newport, Oregon, are rightly FAH-URIOUS after learning their mayor has been reportedly writing racist and homophobic shit on Facebook for years, and are now loudly calling for his resignation. 


• According to a Russian government spokesperson, mere days after an attempted mutiny, Putin invited militia leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to a get-together at the Kremlin, where the Russian leader apparently spoke warmly of the mutineers' accomplishments on the battlefield, and Prigozhin promised to call off his coup attempt. (As you might imagine, many Russians are losing their goddamn minds over this news... which, you know... could be complete bullshit?)

• Intensely heavy rainfall is pummeling the Northeast and causing deadly floods in southeastern New York that have already killed at least one person.

• Completely unshocking headline of the day: "Investigation finds Clarence Thomas accepted more undisclosed gifts from wealthy friends through elite association."

• Sports doc Larry Nassar, convicted of sexually abusing female gymnasts, has been reportedly stabbed several times during an incident with another inmate at a Florida prison. (Insert the emoji of your choice here.)

• Be sure to look up in the skies this Wednesday and Thursday night, because the delightfully freaky aurora borealis (AKA the Northern Lights show) could be visible in 17 states—including right here in Oregon.

• Comedian Sarah Silverman, along with a couple of authors, are suing Meta and OpenAI for using their copyrighted material without permission to train their chatbots—a move that could open up a whole new can of delicious legal worms.

• And finally... the Mercury has no plans to use robots to write our articles. And why would we when we can hire CATS?