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, and happy Wednesday. The sun peeked out yesterday and today it'll be about 50 degrees and cloudy. And guess what else?! I have some news to tell you about. SO KEEP ON READING.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Ahh, the Portland Japanese Garden: The best place in town to relax with some "forest bathing," enjoy the peaceful sounds of the woods with a cup of tea, and...be treated badly by your employers!? According to several employees the Mercury spoke to, managers at the Japanese Garden use racist language, respond poorly to criticism and feedback, and get paid a whole lot of money to do so. It's a bummer, because the garden is one of Portland's jewels and a cultural institution here in town— and also because the workers who keep garden operations running on a daily basis really care about their jobs and should be treated like they deserve! Check out our story on the subject to learn more

• If you live in Portland, it can seem like you're only allowed to have one of two schools of thought these days: Either this city is horrible in every possible way, or it's perfect and without problems. (The latter perspective is a very understandable response to the prevalence of the former, but can be a bit reductionist sometimes.) Actually, I think the majority of Portlanders are probably mostly chilling and living their lives without judging everything they see against this metric. But, ANYWAY...on that note:

This morning, we got word that Mayor Ted Wheeler isn't too pleased with the People for Portland ad campaign talking about how much this city is going down the toilet (Wheeler's quote: "We’re making it really, really easy for our competition when we have billboards that say, ‘We suck really badly here.’”). We also got to see the results of a poll about the city commissioned by the freakin' Portland Police Association. 

In certain media outlets, the results of this poll of 500 Portlanders (far less than 1 percent of the city's voting population) were translated as "the majority of Portland residents would leave if they could." In fact, the data— as skewed as it may be— show something a little less cut-and-dry. 56 percent of people responded "yes" to the question: "If you could afford it professionally and personally, would you consider leaving Portland to live elsewhere?" People, it's December in Oregon. During the period of time this survey was conducted (December 2 to 7), we got, like, six inches of rain. There are a lot of other reasons besides "this city sucks" that you might CONSIDER leaving Portland to live in, say, Baja California right now. 

More importantly, though, is the question of why the Portland Police Association is conducting this survey in the first place. Why would a city's cops want to spread the message that Portland residents are shaking in the Blundstone boots every time they leave the house? Well, because they want to convince city officials to give them more money, of course! 

I just wrote way too much about this. My point: Don't believe the hype. There are both good and bad things happening in Portland, but a lot of the people who live here are awesome and it's possible to be more normal about things. END SCENE.

• On second thought, maybe Portland IS bad. The Portland Bureau of Transportation— which, BTW, is saddled a $32 million budget shortfall— has decided, once again, to spend their precious time and money on a bike lane removal project on NE 33rd Ave. Thanks to BikePortland's intrepid reporting and Portland's community of bike advocates, PBOT's plans to remove bike lanes have been foiled twice over the last few months. But they're going for it again, blaming their own failure to inform people who live along NE 33rd that the bike lane would take away some spots to park their cars. OH, the horror! 

One of the worst parts of these bike lane removal fiascos is that it forces people who bike around the city to defend pieces of infrastructure that aren't even that good. The bike lanes on NE 33rd are thin and lack physical protection for people using them. But they're better than nothing, which is apparently we can expect to get from PBOT for the foreseeable future. 

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

• Remember how the United States voted to oppose a United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, despite the vast majority of other nations voting yes on the resolution? Well, I must admit, it looked like the U.S. was going to sabotage the whole plan to advocate for peace. (Remember, the Israeli military has killed 18,000 Palestinian civilians in two months.) Luckily, though, the U.N.'s General Assembly overrode the American vote and approved the resolution anyway. It's not a binding law or anything, but it does carry significance and shows the Overton window for accepting this kind of violence has shifted around the world.

• Speaking of the U.N., their annual climate conference has proven to be a pretty big flop. (Al Gore tweeted the conclusions to climate summit talks "is even worse than many had feared. It is “Of the Petrostates, By the Petrostates and For the Petrostates.") And you guys, we really don't have time for this right now! The latest news out of the conference, which was supposed to end yesterday but is still ongoing, is that the proposal might be a little bit better than the one Gore was referencing. But whatever proposal the U.N. delegates have put together to "eventually wean itself off planet-warming fossil fuels" are certainly not going to be enough to make a dent. I'm not saying there's no hope, but world leaders who have a personal financial stake in maintaining the oil-covered status quo aren't going to be the ones to save us. 

• Who WILL be the ones to save us, then? Well, it's not going to be outdoor cats, who pose a pretty major threat to biodiversity. According to a new paper, outdoor kitties will eat 2,094 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, including hundreds that are critically endangered. We've known about the birds, but reptiles??? Amphibians?! What's wrong with you guys?  

So...don't let your cats out. Or, if you do, you can carry them around in one of those cute cat backpacks. My little guy is ravenous and would certainly eat any creature he got his grubby little mitts on, so it's the only way he can see the world. Plus, it's chic.

• Honestly, same:

• Finally, say hi to these little bear cubs. And have a good Wednesday!!

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Oregon Zoo (@oregonzoo)