The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support! 

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Are you cold? Because I am. It's currently 48 degrees while I write this—but it's supposed to warm up a bit today and top out at 53. Boy, that was fast! I remember the day merely last week when I wore a short-sleeved shirt while biking. Now, how about warming up with some news...


• Solving Portland’s housing and homelessness crisis will require creative ideas. How about churches using their land to develop affordable properties? North Portland's Portsmouth Union Church is the latest home to one of these complexes, with a 20-unit affordable development opening last week to serve formerly homeless veterans. But thanks to some recent legislative changes, you might see other churches in Oregon getting in on the action too. Read the Mercury's latest story to learn more

•  The UFCW Local 555 union, which reps food and commercial workers in Oregon, have a bone to pick with self-serve gas pumps. The union submitted an initiative yesterday to reinstate a ban on self-service fueling, and if they get enough signatures (a very specific 117,173) by July, gas pumping will be on the ballot in November 2024 for the voters to decide. 

Former Portland Commissioner Steve Novick is one person who has signed onto the initiative. He has an interesting take on why Oregon shouldn't allow people to pump their own gas, telling OPB that "he's concerned about jobs" but his "primary concern is quirkiness. It's an odd little thing that helps make Oregon, Oregon."

Keep Oregon weird by saying NO to self-serve gas? As a non-driver, I don't have much skin in this game, but if the law change has caused people to lose their jobs, let's scrap it! Isn't it nicer to sit and wait in the car anyway? 

• The former Spencer's store at the Lloyd Center has been transformed into the pop-up Halloween Cultural Preservation Museum— what I believe is the raunchy gift store's natural predecessor. The museum takes Halloween-lovers on a trip through Hallows Eves past, with displays of vintage, spooky decorations from the 1920s through the '90s. It'll be open through the end of the month, remaining open in November with limited hours. I know there are some true Lloyd Center haters out there, and to them I say: face the facts. You're wrong. 

• Spring Chinook salmon returned to the South Umpqua River in alarmingly small numbers this year — according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, only 17 adult Chinook came back. This is a mere 12% of the 10-year average! Conservation groups are asking for the fish to be given federal protection. 

• Be sure to get in on your weekly dose of Portland music news from Jenni Moore

• Plus, TWO EVILS is back: 


• We have a new Speaker of the House, and guess what? He sucks! Our new guy is Rep. Mike Johnson, a far-right Republican (duh) from Louisiana who says climate change is fake, supports criminalizing abortion, wants to strip rights from gay and trans people, and helped promote the conspiracy that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.  Oh yeah, and Oregon Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer voted for him. 🙄

• As Israeli air strikes continue to rain down on Palestinians in Gaza, and very little aid is in sight for civilians there, McCarthyism 2.0 has begun here in America. Florida Governor (and wannabe president) Ron DeSantis is ordering state universities to ban a pro-Palestinian student organization from campuses, linking them to Hamas militants. As bad as that is, it's DeSantis's Florida, so it's probably an outlier case, right? Nope! At least two American journalists, one of whom is Jewish, have been fired for expressing slightly pro-Palestinian views online. This is happening all over the world, actually, with Palestinian groups banned across Europe and pro-Palestine protests shut down by police. Nnnnot great!

• Maine has experienced a terrible tragedy, thanks to the unfettered access to guns we have here in America:

• Some of the best news this week is due to the heroic actions of Javelinas, those semi-pig animals who live in the Southwest, and are apparently climate heroes. Javelinas in Arizona plundered a fancy golf course, turning up grass and soil and making an overall huge mess of the place. BUT WAIT! Some context: the Javelinas were in the area before people decided to tear up the landscape to create a field for the most boring sport on planet earth. Also, the aforementioned boring sport locale happens to require a ton of water for upkeep, which Arizona does not exactly have in spades. Down with the golf courses! Up with the Javelinas! (One day, I'll figure out what kind of animal you guys really are.)

• Apparently, teens want to see less sex and romance in TV and movies: the majority of the 1,500 young people who participated in a UCLA survey said they felt "romance in media is overused," among other things. Are teenagers puritans now???! Does it matter!??!!?  I don't know. Their lives have been hard enough, what with the pandemic, collapsing ecosystem, wars, so on, so forth. But, I mean, a little young love isn't a bad thing. 

• Finally...anyone wanna see a mouse-deer, a.k.a. the world's smallest hoofed animals? Regardless of your answer to that question, please check out the video below. And have a wonderful Thursday before Halloweekend.