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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! If you've resolved to make 2024 a LOT more fun than last year, then may I suggest snagging tickets to see two of the most entertaining shows around: the HUMP! film festival (featuring short and absolutely filthy dirty flicks from your friends and neighbors) and the Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy (featuring the funniest folks in Portland with special guest Kyle Kinane)! You'll have so much fun you might just choose to spontaneously retire from public life, and no one would blame you. And now, allow me to spontaneously present today's NEWS!

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Sad news for lovers of one of Portland's favorite food cart pods and establishments: The main building at Portland Mercado caught on fire early yesterday morning, destroying the beloved Barrio bar. Thankfully no one was injured, and the food carts were unscathed—but they did lose power and have closed for the time being until repairs are made. Our Suzette Smith digs into the details as well as passes on info on how YOU can help.

• Better news: The Portland Thorns have FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY been sold out from under the terrible management of Merritt Paulson, and into the hopefully more capable hands of the Bhathal family who also owns a few other sports franchises. The team was purchased for $63 million—a NWSL record—and the Bhathals will take over management of the Thorns immediately. DO THE TIMBERS NEXT!!

• Also good news: After dicking around for 15 years (when the idea was first brought to the council), the city of Portland has finally invested a sweet $15 million to build a skatepark in Old Town. The park will be located on the west side of the river next to the Steel Bridge, is big enough to service 200-500 skaters at once, and is intended to be a recreation destination that could easily bring in folks from all over the country—that is if the city's resident haters don't figure out a way to screw it up. Our Courtney Vaughn has the details.

• What? More good news? A federal judge in Eugene has slapped down the U.S. Department of Justice's attempt to get a lawsuit dismissed, brought by a group of young people, which accuses the government of knowingly worsening climate change by granting subsidies to fossil fuel companies. Unable to squirm out of their responsibilities, the trial could start this fall. 

• The family of Tyrone Johnson II—the man who was killed by Portland Police in the Mall 205 Target parking lot on December 27—held a vigil yesterday on the spot where he was shot down to bring attention to the fact that the cops so far refuse to reveal exactly why they chose to shoot someone accused of shoplifting. While police claim they found a gun on the scene, they have not revealed whether it was aimed at them when they took the man's life.

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

• This will not surprise you, AND YET? According to a report from House Democrats, former President Trump received at least a whopping $7.8 million from foreign governments while he was supposedly serving Americans in the White House. The payouts came from at least 20 countries (!!) including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and China (whom he repeatedly disparaged).

• Today in "oopsy-doodle":

• New year, new high school shooting—this time in Perry, Iowa. Details are currently scant and it's unclear how many people were injured, though reportedly there are a number of victims being transported to the hospital.

Court documents in the Jeffrey Epstein case were unsealed yesterday, and while the docs reveal a number of big names who apparently had some sort of dealings with the creep—such as former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, as well as hedge fund millionaire Glenn Dubin—there's little proof of any substantive wrongdoing... at least for the moment.

• Here's your most unsurprising headline of the day (so far): "SpaceX illegally fired workers critical of Elon Musk, U.S. labor agency says." I'm sorry... does this mean there are employees who aren't critical of Elon Musk?

• And finally... why can't Elon Musk spend his time developing something like this?