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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Ay, ay, ay, it's been a long week. But it's Friday now, yippee, and I am looking forward to a weekend of good sleep. BUT DON'T SLEEP YET! Because it's time for the news. (After you finish reading, do whatever you want.)
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• Without teachers on strike and unable to run classes at Portland Public Schools (PPS), the district has turned to its paraeducators and educational assistants to become one-on-one "reading coaches" for kids with high reading needs. The problem? Those staffers say they're not qualified to perform such coaching, and allege PPS is asking them to cross the teachers' union picket line. (They're also uncomfortable with PPS's request that paraprofessionals contact district families directly in order to schedule tutoring sessions, and say district management instructed staffers to disguise their personal phone numbers when calling parents in order to maintain privacy.) The Portland Federation of School Professionals (PFSP) union that represents the staffers has filed a grievance against PPS for violating their bargaining contract, and PPS has 10 days to respond. Meanwhile, negotiations between PPS and the PAT teachers' union will resume tomorrow.
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• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a new plan for salmon who can't bypass Willamette River dams: a fish vacuum. I can't possibly explain this better than Tony Schick did it in OPB:
Build a floating vacuum the size of a football field with enough pumps to suck up a small river. Capture tiny young salmon in the vacuum’s mouth and flush them into massive storage tanks. Then load the fish onto trucks, drive them downstream and dump them back into the water.
Such a plan will cost $450 million and will be the first of its kind. You know what has been done before, though, with good results? Removing dams. But the Corps are really, really not into that idea.
Toxic vapors will be deadly when mega-earthquake hits Portland, report says, prompting call for regulation https://t.co/IlvAIzlNTi— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) November 3, 2023
• Water Shrew Trio is a Portland indie label supergroup—the combined might of Bud Tapes’ Emmet Martin and Oranj Discs’ Skyler Pia with Boreen’s Morgan O’Sullivan. That’s a lot of names, but the group’s sound couldn’t be further from complexity. Often building from a single tone, the improvisational drone band layers different sounds into a cohesive, unpredictable, comforting, psychedelically crunchy, and delightfully freaky whole. Check out the Mercury’s profile of the group’s first studio album.
• Our Abe Asher talked to members of Portland's Palestinian diaspora as they witness the destruction of Gaza from thousands of miles away. Palestinians across the globe are experiencing resurfaced memories of past, violent conflicts with Israel, but they want people to know that Gaza is "more than its suffering." Read the article here.
• TESLAS ARE OVER!!!! The hottest new electric vehicle in Portland is a garbage truck. Portland General Electric and City of Roses Disposal and Recycling unveiled Oregon's first e-garbage truck yesterday, funded by PGE's Drive Change Fund. They'll be environmentally friendly and cost-efficient, storing the equivalent of 40 gallons of gas (!!) in electricity and allowing for two days' worth of garbage pickups on a single charge. (They're probably quieter, too.)
• Be sure to do this week's Mercury POP QUIZ PDX to show what you know about gorgeous bats, downtown cops, and more.
IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:
• Fallen crypto whizkid Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on all seven charges he was up against, including securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, and faces decades in prison. And to think, if he hadn't been such an asshole to his girlfriend Caroline Ellison (who kinda colluded with him and then provided damning testimony against him) he may never have been caught! A bunch of people on Reddit are probably really fired up right now, but I avoid that place like the plague, so I'll never know.
• Oh, god...relish your waning vitamin D supply while you can, and prepare the SAD lamp: It's daylight saving time this weekend. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, clocks will go back an hour. You'll get another hour of sleep, but it'll also get dark an hour earlier. BUT WAIT! I thought our brilliant American politicians decided that was over! Well, apparently not. 😭
• Speaking of our brilliant American public servants, this is how they're currently spending our tax money:
U.S. drones are flying over Gaza, according to Defense Department officials and an analysis by The New York Times. Officials said the drones are being used to find hostages, indicating that the U.S. is more involved than previously known. https://t.co/91wsG3kIo0— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 3, 2023
• Republicans in the U.S. House voted yesterday to approve a nearly $14.5 billion military aid package for Israel, a massive package that would require cuts in government spending elsewhere. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a "stunningly unserious" bill that will die in the Senate, but not because Democrats don't want to fund Israeli military operations, considering President Biden also wants to give them tens of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has risen above 9,000, and with the Israeli ground invasion advancing, there's no sign of a ceasefire on the horizon.
• Has science gone too far? Artificial intelligence helped restore the "last Beatles song," featuring all four members of the band (two of whom, of course, have long been dead). Paul McCartney called AI "kind of scary but exciting," adding that the Beatles would've been interested in messing around with state-of-the-art technology. Whatever Paul says! The song is pretty good, so check it out.
• HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE. Have a great weekend. (It might be raining this weekend, but still the below tweet applies.)
Everybody in Portland STOP what you’re doing. Go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Take five deep breath’s, and heed the word on this sign. 🤎☀️ pic.twitter.com/BTKeTThHCp— Lakayana (@LakayanaD) November 2, 2023