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! Hope you enjoyed the sliver of sunshine we got yesterday, because we’re back to rainy, mostly cloudy vibes today, BUT we’re in for a high of 56, so the complaint department is closed. 

In Local News:

  • Yesterday, a coalition of LGBTQ+ organizations released a housing policy paper on the impact of homelessness on the Portland region’s queer residents. The gist? Despite Portland’s reputation as a queer-friendly city, the area doesn’t have much in the way of emergency shelters geared toward LGBTQ+ folks, and the city’s single queer-friendly Safe Rest Village, the Queer Affinity Village, almost always has a waitlist. That’s notable, because LGBTQ+ residents, particularly trans and nonbinary people, are more likely to face housing insecurity due to discrimination, binary shelter services, and a frequent need to leave unsafe, or non-affirming living situations. 

  • Big news in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s race. The union representing local prosecutors endorsed Mike Schmidt’s opponent, Nathan Vasquez. Schmidt, the current DA, is running for reelection. His employee, Vasquez, is challenging him for the seat. Both will appear on the ballot for this May’s primary election. Vasquez is running on a platform that asserts Schmidt has been ineffective and too soft on crime. Schmidt ran (and will likely continue to campaign) on a platform of criminal justice reform, zeroing in on ways to avoid throwing people in jail if they are more likely to benefit from other types of intervention, or haven’t violated any serious laws. 
  • A senior care center in Sandy was ordered to immediately shut down last Friday, forcing its elder residents to vacate. KGW reports Mt. Hood Senior Living was told to cease operations by the Oregon Department of Human Services. The state cited licensure violations, as well as health and safety violations, including unsanitary kitchen conditions, and noted the death of a resident on Dec. 25, 2023 was likely due to failures of the facility staff. Big yikes.
  • Wanna get out of the house? Or maybe just get a feel for the city’s nightlife and cultural happenings you plan to eschew for your favorite sweatpants? The Everout team has you covered each week, with a big ol’ roundup of things to do, from films, to live theater, festivals, notable DJ sets and the best comedy showcase in the city.

In National/World News:

  • This Friday is Groundhog Day. Don’t put too much stock in it. It’s the annual day where a guy in a winter coat crowds around a hole to see if a goofy-looking, but lovable rodent emerges and … something about its shadow. In theory, a groundhog that we’ve affectionately called Punxutawney Phil, will tell us with minimal accuracy, when spring will arrive. I can tell you with near certainty that the vernal equinox gets here on or around March 20.
  • An ocean exploration team says they may have spotted Amelia Earhart’s lost plane at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Earhart, a renowned aviator, and navigator Fred Noonan vanished in 1937 during what was supposed to be a flight to circumnavigate the globe. Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. A company called Deep Sea Vision says sonar images have likely revealed the plane near where it vanished between Australia and Hawaii.
  • French people are not okay. Farmers in Paris moved tractors into the city, in an attempt to blockade major routes to the capital. According to the BBC, the agricultural workers are protesting “falling incomes, environmental regulations, rising red tape, and competition from imports.” The protest has been dubbed the "siege of Paris.” Elsewhere in Paris, protesters threw soup at Leonardo DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa” painting at the Louvre museum (the painting sits behind glass.) The soup splash was meant to call attention to food insecurity and widespread hunger in France.
    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Riposte Alimentaire (@ripostealimentaire)

  • Baby shark, do-do-do-do-do-do-do…Bay-beee shark. If you didn’t have the “Baby Shark” song stuck in your head, now you do. A photo of what biologists say is likely a newborn great white shark photographed in July off the California coast is causing a frenzy among scientists. Whether or not the white shark is actually a newborn is up for debate, but researchers say it could provide clues about where the mystic fish originate. Here’s the baby photo!