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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! In case you haven't heard, the Mercury has another print edition out for your reading pleasure. This time, it's the FALL ARTS GUIDE, and it contains a wealth of engaging stories for you to flip through by hand, just like the good ol' days.

You'll be able to snag a copy at over 500 Portland locales, but if you can't wait, you can check out the guide online right now—or, perhaps, after you're done reading through all the latest NEWS. 

Actually, first— a quick HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: some astute, science-minded readers (a.k.a. my sister, who is a Woman in Stem™) pointed out to me that I made a grave error in my Good Morning News post last week. In the headline, I hinted—in all caps, no less—the post would include "LOTS ABOUT REPTILES"...with an accompanying photo of some endangered frogs (who belong to the class Amphibia) the Oregon Zoo is releasing into the wild. 

Now, in my defense, the rest of the post DID include two pieces of reptile-related news: a story from Mississippi about a massive alligator, and a reference to the latest gaffee from objectively turtle-esque Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. HOWEVER, I will admit that the distinction between reptiles and amphibians slipped my mind. Both are cold-blooded species with oddly-textured skin, but reptiles have scales and are dry, and amphibians are much more slippery. 

I regret the error and appreciate the readers who held me accountable. I will do my best not to let you down in this manner going forward. Thank you.

So, if you're still reading, let's try again: here's some news. 


• It's a sad day for Oregon cider lovers (myself included), as Rev. Nat's Hard Cider has announced they'll be closing their operations at the end of the month. This decision comes just months after the cider-makers opened a new taproom on Southeast Division Street.

According to owner Nat West himself, the closure can't be attributed to a "single reason." In an Instagram post announcing the news, he wrote the "last few years have been hard on us with COVID closures, changing consumer preferences, the sputtering of craft beer overall, and the decline of Portland as a worldwide tourism destination." (Note that he didn't say anything about crime.) 

Rev. Nat's will hold a going-away party at the taproom on September 23 to commemorate their years in business and launch a few new ciders. 

"Please don’t be sad! We’ve had an incredible run and I met so many amazing people and shared so many wonderful experiences," Nat wrote on Instagram. "It’s been the best job I’ve ever had." 

I'm still a little sad. But it has been a good run, so godspeed to Nat, and let's hope some other cider-makers will spring up to fill the void. 

• Jesse Johnson served 25 years in jail after being convicted of the 1998 murder of 28-year-old Harriet Thompson in a Salem apartment—which Johnson denied committing. This week, Johnson (who is now 62) walked free after spending almost half his life in prison, much of which was spent on death row. 

The case against Johnson appears flimsy at best, with no DNA evidence connecting him to the killing. Instead, prosecutors relied on circumstantial evidence to convict him, and thanks to the institutional racism inherent in our criminal "justice" system (Johnson is a Black man), they were successful. The Oregon Innocence Project has accused the state of committing a “heinous injustice” in its handling of the case. 

Johnson said he's "happy and excited for the next phase" of his life, but he walked out of jail with no financial compensation from the State of Oregon. Advocates are now asking for the community to rally behind him. 

• It was a big day at City Hall yesterday morning as advocates rallied outside Portland City Hall to protest the city's response (or lack thereof) to traffic fatalities AND their handling of the "backroom deal" with Zenith Energy last year. Both groups of advocates plan to continue to be vocal at City Hall meetings (and through other political avenues) to express their discontent with how Portland officials have handled the traffic safety and climate crises. 

In other City Council news, Portland leaders voted 5-0 yesterday to approve a public hard drug use ban, which would penalize people using drugs like fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine on public property by fining or jailing them. But this goes against Oregon state law, so the ban will be impossible to enact and enforce by the city alone. 

While it's no debate that abundant drug use in Portland is dangerous (especially for the people using—and tragically often, overdosing—on drugs like fentanyl), I urge people to remember why Measure 110 was passed in the first place: jail or stiff fines do not lead to better outcomes for people who are using drugs. It will be very unfortunate indeed if our leaders "address" this crisis by going back to the old, punitive status quo instead of coming up with new solutions. But that would require some hard work and compassion, which is not exactly abundant at City Hall these days. 

I must do one more plug for our Fall Arts Guide, because it's that good. READ IT! READ IT! Look at the amazing cover for it and then read it! 

Here's one suggestion of a story you should read: Martha Daghlian's piece on the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's (PICA) Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival — PICA's flagship event for the past 20 years. TBA is going through some changes this year: instead of its typical 10-day whirlwind format, this year's festival will be a more "leisurely timeline of performances and exhibitions" through November. (They're calling it "Time-Released.")

This year’s changes might seem like a major departure from the TBA we all know and love. But PICA has always been committed to keeping things fresh and letting artists lead the way, and this year will be no different.


¡Viva México! Mexico's Supreme Court ruled yesterday that abortion be removed from the national penal code, declaring national laws prohibiting abortion are "unconstitutional and violate women's rights." Mexican feminist and civil rights groups celebrated the decision, with the National Institute for Women calling it a "day of victory and justice for Mexican women!” 

Still, many Mexican states still prohibit the procedure, so there is work to be done. But advocates working to legalize abortion in Mexico state-by-state at least have the federal government on their side—which is more than those of us up north can say. 

• The good news: Yesterday, the U.S. Interior Department canceled seven Trump-era oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland saying the decision means “no one will have rights to drill for oil in one of the most sensitive landscapes on earth.” The bad news? For bureaucratic reasons I cannot really understand, some drilling in Alaska is planned to continue nonetheless. So, while I guess it's good the Biden administration pays lip service to the absolute evil that is drilling for oil and gas ANYWHERE, let alone in one of the most sacred places on the planet, that lip service doesn't seem to really mean all that much. Come on, guys. 

• After his second (public) freeze-up last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is assuring his GOP colleagues that, actually, he's totally fine, no prob! Look, McConnell is so evil that I certainly wouldn't be happier with him if he was at the top of his game. But come on, the gerontocracy's gotta go. And thanks to the natural laws of life and death, it will at some point. But don't get it twisted: some young people have shitty ideas, too. So let's just get the good youth elected, how does that sound? 

• Ah, Burning Man: what is it about you that's so...annoying? Well, for one, it's the huge mess the trust-fund hippies leave behind once they head back from the desert festival to their real lives, newly unburdened by the world's turmoil after trying Ayahuasca. As we all know, this year was different from years past thanks to the torrential rainstorm that hit the Nevada desert last week, and it's going to make trash pickup all the worse. IDK, a hippie fest ostensibly based around resilience and appreciation for Mother Earth shouldn't be Ground Zero for waste, but I guess that's just one unenlightened person's opinion. 

Alright, we're almost done here. But first, take a quick gander at all these cats. How are there so many of them? And what is it about a bunch of cats that's so funny and cute? The account that posted this is called "Cats That Heal Your Depression," and frankly, with this video, they  might be right.