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Good Morning, Portland! I wanna know know, does it bother you? The low click of the ticking clock. There's a lifetime right in front of you, and everyone I know. Now, let's hit the news!

IN LOCAL NEWS:
• After months of silence about his political future, Dan Ryan announced Thursday that will be the sole Portland city commissioner NOT running to mayor. Ryan will run for one of three seats in the new council's District 2, which encompasses the majority of the Northeast and North city quadrants. Mercury reporter Taylor Griggs has more.

• Crime is down, and everyone is taking credit. News Editor Courtney Vaughn has the story.

• In May, Portlanders will vote on a 10-cent per gallon gas tax, which funds much of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) basic maintenance and safety services. Taylor Griggs explains it all.

• Wealthy Oregon-based publisher Win McCormack has accused two of his chauffeurs / personal assistants of stealing $34 million from him. The good news: He's wealthy enough that he can apparently recover from that. The bad news: Here's what he does with his money usually:

• The Grotto released photos of the winter storm damage caused on its grounds by Portland's recent ice storm. The Oregonian has it behind a paywall for some reason, but you can see the images here.

• Based on the extensive reporting about REI closing, I must admit that I thought the Pearl REI location had already closed, but readers have until February 1 to hit it up. Complimenting the closure, co-op CEO Eric Artz announced hundreds of layoffs yesterday. According the release, the layoffs will primarily impact 200 workers at headquarters, which is located near Tacoma in Sumner, Washington. REI is also laying off staff working in the co-op's Steep and Cheap program, it's Experiences department, and at its distribution centers.

• The Friday morning ticket drop is upon us. Have no fear—the Mercury's EverOut team has a round-up of music shows and performances to which you much scoop tickets. This week Mitski is in the mix, as is a newly added late show for Ian Karmel's March visit to Rev Hall. Portland psych thrashers Rhododendron are scheduled to play Hawthorne Theater before they leave on a March tour—that's a pretty big venue for the house show heroes. Did you guys write more songs or something?

IN NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
• The United Nations’ top court—which is located in the Hague, Netherlands and is often called the Hague—stopped short of doing anything actionable, in response to South Africa's charges that Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza amounted to genocide. The court ordered Israel to essentially not do genocide. Many are quick to point that, although people point to the Hague as a symbol of justice, it has no real means of enforcement. The Associated Press described the decision as ordering Israel to "do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide" which feels appropriately feckless and genteel. AP noted in the same story that Israel’s wartime offensive has "killed more than 26,000 Palestinians, decimated vast swaths Gaza, and driven nearly 85% of its 2.3 million people from their homes." If it's not too morose for you, here's the AP's genocide explainer.

• Alabama state prison system executed a convicted prisoner named Kenneth Smith on Thursday evening. The execution was notable for being the first US execution to use nitrogen gas. Although the jury deciding Smith's fate had voted to spare his life, they were overruled by the presiding judge. When Smith's legal counsel raised concerns that the untested method could cause him to suffer, the US Supreme Court allowed the execution to move forward. A lot of effort went into the killing. Smith was pronounced dead 33 minutes after his execution began. Journalists observing reported that he "shook and writhed" for at least two minutes.

• Now let's take a break and think about black holes. A team of scientists reexamined an image of the black hole in Messier 87, which they had previously concluded behaved precisely as Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity had predicted. And it still appears to behave as Einstein’s theory predicted. Always good to check your work!

• Back to rage! It's completely unethical to create criminal records for students caught vaping. My god, you people.

• People keep taking about a recession, but instead the economy grew 3.1 percent, and inflation is in retreat. The New York Times reports that unemployment is low and people keep buying stuff.

• If you're not a fan of Eric Morris, @cyberexboyfriend on TikTok, I think you should be. This week he really read the tea on total gut renovations and house flips as wasteful and performative. I'll go one further and demand that we limit house flipping as a profession. Return the fixer upper to lower and middle income buyers! These flippers are destroying perfectly usable homes and making housing more expensive.

@cyberexboyfriend #stitch with @ComeStayAwhile | Amanda #greenscreen idk this has been bothering me about the housing market for a while now #interiordesign #interiordesigner #art #designtok #architecture #realeastate ♬ original sound - Laura Lisbon