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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! It's been a couple weeks since I typed those words, and it feels good to be back. It's set to be a relatively balmy 50-ish degrees today, but things could be getting chillayyy soon. (Stay tuned for more details on that in this very post.) Ok, I could sit here and chat all day, but I think it's time we get to the NEWS. 


• A faction of online meteorologists are freaking out about the potential for a freezing weather system to hit the Pacific Northwest next week, bringing chaos and destruction along with it. 

While I am inclined to believe some of these takes are hyperbolic, there does appear to be an Arctic blast approaching, which will make things very cold across the region for a few days next week. Hopefully our local officials will begin making plans quickly to keep our most vulnerable residents safe during the severe weather event.  

• A pending Arctic weather system is nothing to fear to local skiers and snowboarders, who have been waiting all season for some good (or, really, any) powder to fall in the Cascades. Along with super-chilly temperatures west of the mountains, the Cascades could get a couple feet of snow this weekend. This is great, because the snowpack in the Cascades has been sitting at less than half of what it should be for this time of year. Expect some big crowds at Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline...and major traffic on Highway 26. 

About 150 healthcare workers and activists gathered near OHSU's hospital Thursday night to rally for a cease-fire in Gaza. Nurses and others are calling on Portland's major healthcare institutions to publicly call for a stop to the bombing in Gaza, as communities and hospitals have been decimated.

• Is your memory a steel trap or something a little less secure? Find out by taking the Mercury's latest pop quiz, all about news that happened in 2023. (It was a pretty crazy year, so don't beat yourself up too much if you can't remember a few things.)  

• The Portland Public Schools board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Sandy Husk as interim superintendent beginning February 12, once current superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero's time is up (he retired last month). Husk formerly oversaw Salem-Keizer Public Schools.

• European colonizers are at it again. This time, it's European green crustaceans taking over territory in the Pacific Northwest and they're threatening the livelihoods of native Dungeness crabs, which are big moneymakers for the region. The European crabs also pose a threat to the PNW's oysters and clams...and the  marine ecosystem more generally. Check out this OPB story for all the crabby details


• If you've talked to anyone in the last few days, you probably already know that Covid cases are climbing around the country. This is on top of other rising respiratory illness, including the flu, which is getting off to a late start this season. Hope everyone's vaxxed, and you might consider wearing a mask inside for a few weeks until cases are on the decline again. 

Arachnid experts in Australia just captured the largest male specimen of the most venomous spider in the world. Antivenom scientists are super excited to start "milking" it for venom to use for live-saving antidotes in case people are bitten by this extremely deadly spider (and since this is all taking place in Australia, they definitely will be).

Apparently, I don't know anything about spiders or medicine, because this entire story came as a shock to me. I was aware that such monsters exist in the land down under, and I am formally requesting that these spiders do NOT go the way of the European green crab and take over every surface on this earth.  

• It's been almost three years since the January 6, 2021 attacks on the Capitol (time flies, doesn't it!?) and folks who contributed are still being tracked down and prosecuted: 

• According to GOP candidate Nikki Haley, though, the inciter of the January 6 riot should get off scot-free. Haley, who is currently polling very well in New Hampshire and may prove to be a viable second place candidate to frontrunner Trump, said she'd pardon the former president because he's too old to rot in jail. Ok, Haley, and what about all the other elderly people currently sitting in prison for more minor offenses? Nikki Haley prison abolitionist arc when? 

• Finally...may your weekend be as fabulous as this beautiful bird queen.

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