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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Expect more mercurial (heh) weather for the next couple days with rando showers and a chance of thunderstorms with highs topping 58 degrees, before the sun returns on Wednesday. CLASSIC SPRING, AMIRITE? And now let's read some CLASSIC (and rando) NEWS!

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Like on many colleges across the nation, pro-Palestinian protesters have taken up residence on the Portland State University campus. The big difference? Instead of sending police to arrest or drive the students and activists away, PSU President Ann Cudd has brokered a deal with demonstrators to stake out the north entrance to the Millar Library, as opposed to the Park Blocks which is city property and could lead to arrests and harassment from the cops. The south library entrance remains open to library-goers, after a discussion between Cudd and activists. Sounds peaceful enough? Maybe, but a much bigger demonstration is scheduled to happen in the Park Blocks this afternoon, which we'll be keeping our eye on. (For a stark contrast on how Columbia University is dealing with mass protests, keep reading.)

• Commuters beware: The Steel Bridge is closed in both directions this morning after a freight train derailed on the bridge's lower deck. Six train cars were involved in the accident, and haz-mat teams are on the scene to check for any environmental concerns. No one was reported injured, so now let's just thank our lucky stars that it wasn't one of Zenith's many dangerous, explosive oil tankers that the city continues to allow to roll through Portland.

• According to recently released public records, top staffers for Gov. Tina Kotek were pretty dang concerned about her partner Aimee Kotek Wilson and her expanding role in the administration. This included Kotek asking an aide to contact Cascadia Behavioral Health (where Kotek Wilson was once employed), "about a friend of the [first lady’s] who is upset with her supervisor,” according to an email from former top staffer Abby Tibbs, who felt the ask was inappropriate and an abuse of the governor's power. Yet another email expressed concern that Gov. Kotek had transferred a staff person from the Department of Administrative Services to assist Kotek Wilson, without letting the appropriate people know. These and other emails were sent days before three top staffers left the governor's office, though Gov. Kotek had previously described the departures as just run-of-the-mill turnover. (Sounds like a good opportunity to break out this emoji: 🧐)

• Sooooo... if you, as a citizen of Portland, were given the choice of what community projects you would love to fund, and then the city gave you $15 million to get it done, is that something you'd be interested in? 🙋 OH HELL YES! Participatory budgeting advocates are currently gathering signatures to get such an idea on the November ballot, which would open up the decision-making process about the city's discretionary budget to a more diverse population (AKA not the regular horde of white dudes who decide everything). Our Taylor Griggs has more!

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

• Talks have broken down between hundreds of student activists and Columbia University officials, as the school's president has announced that the institution will not be divesting from Israel, despite the deaths of 34,000 people who have been killed by Israeli military on the Gaza Strip. However small steps have reportedly been made, and negotiations continue.

• Meanwhile the killing continues in Gaza, as Israel is plotting an all-out assault on the southern city of Rafah, and the US is trying to broker a truce between Hamas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the same time, Netanyahu is reportedly getting very nervous indeed about the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for him and top military leaders for their very obvious war crimes.

• WOMP WOMP:

• Horrible human being and vice presidential contender South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has doubled... or maybe quadrupled down?... on her revelation that she shot their family dog (and pet goat!) in a gravel pit because they were supposedly untrainable—which in reality means they justifiably hated her. Not only did Noem refuse to apologize for her horrific actions, she then admitted to recently killing three of her horses as well. Animals, run for your lives! THE MURDERER IS IN THE HOUSE. 

• In other Republican ogre news: Garbage Pail Kid / Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is continuing her effort to oust House Speaker of the Moment Mike Johnson for the crime of holding a vote for additional Ukraine aid. Unfortunately for her, that would require every single Democrat to vote alongside her and HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA! Right.

• And finally... hope you're swinging into your week like this: