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! Do you feel that? The air is preparing to heat up (slightly) above freezing today. But not much. It might hit 43 degrees today, which will feel almost tropical after the past few days. But beware of the ice, which will linger on streets and sidewalks at least through today, subjecting us all to a little more cabin fever. (Can you tell I'm feeling it!?) Let's get out of our rut with some NEWS.

IN LOCAL NEWS: 

• Warming shelters in Portland remained open last night for the fifth night in a row as temperatures stayed frigid and freezing rain hit the region. Multnomah County opened up 12 emergency shelters— the most ever opened by the county—during this severe weather event. Tragically, however, several people in the Portland area have died due to hypothermia.

Others have suffered (either greatly or mildly, depending on whether or not they have a gas stove and heating system/good insulation) because of widespread Portland General Electric power outages. Most of the power outages have been resolved, but I suspect there will be deserved ire directed at PGE for some time. 

Plus, school for Portland Public Schools students (and other students across the Portland metro area) was cancelled for the second day in a row today due to weather conditions. 

• New Savage Love column alert, this time about semi-open marriages and "off the charts" workplace flirtation. Read it HERE

The largest dam removal project in US history is getting underway in the Klamath River, located in southern Oregon and Northern California. Members of tribes along the river, including the Klamath and Yurok tribes, have long been advocating for the dams to be removed in order to save the wild salmon, steelhead, and pacific lamprey whose populations have dwindled as the dams have blocked their passage and worsened water quality. The fish have been central to tribal identity for time immemorial. 

One member of the Yurok tribe called the removal project “historic and life-changing,” saying it “means that the Yurok people have a future. It means the river has a future; the salmon have a future."

The project could also be a blueprint, or at least a North Star, for people in other communities who have been similarly advocating for dam removal.

Members of the University of Oregon grad student union were prepared to go on strike today after a long and mostly disappointing bargaining process with UO management. But luckily for the university, which truly relies on the very undervalued labor of its graduate students to function, they came to an agreement Monday and were able to avoid the walkout. Long live the U of O grad students! I hope they got everything they wanted and more.

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS: 

• Well, it looks like the primary debate season is over. ABC News was scheduled to host the sixth Republican primary debate tomorrow, but cancelled it after candidate Nikki Haley dropped out, refusing to stoop so low as to duke it out with only Ron DeSantis (everyone else dropped out after miserable performances in the Iowa caucuses). Haley said she’s only willing to debate with Donald Trump or Joe Biden, which is probably a strong move to knock DeSantis even further out of the public’s thoughts. But at this point, she must be waiting on Trump to get convicted or is aiming to be his veep. Idk, though, her messaging has been sorta mixed: 

The James Webb Space Telescope may have spotted the earliest known black hole in the universe. The black hole is in the distant galaxy GN-z11 (why can't it be named something cool, like "Milky Way"?) formed about 13.4 billion years ago, or, in other words, 400 million years after the dawn of the universe. Astrophysicists say it "calls into question where black holes come from and how they feed and grow." Oh! You know what, cool, but there are some things I don't need to know more about. Unless a black hole is about to swallow me whole, I can only devote so much brain power to these things. But I'm happy for the star community.

Guinness World Records may take back the title of "World's Oldest Dog" from a Portuguese dog named Bobi who died last year— supposedly at the age of 31— after finding some things that don't add up in the dog's story. I also think 31 is a suspiciously old age for a dog, but if any dog would live that long, it would probably be one living in the Portuguese countryside. Our American dogs are stressed out! They can sense their owners' existential despondence about living in this country, and it shortens their lifespans. That's just my theory, anyway. 

• Really unfortunate news out of Baltimore:

 

The line-up for Coachella just dropped, so if you like to spend a LOT of money to camp and listen to music in the dusty California desert, get hyped. (Can you tell I'm not a huge fan of music festivals?) Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, and Doja Cat will headline the fest this year...and if those artists don't appeal to you, perhaps you're intrigued by the No Doubt reunion set to take place? Ticket presale begins Friday morning for those of you who want to cop one of the coveted $500+ weekend passes.

•  Finally...bear the in mind and get yourself something good to eat today.