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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! The weather is going to be PERFECT today: About 70 degrees, mostly sunny with a few clouds. Tomorrow begins a streak of much-too-hot weather. (90 degrees!?? NOOO!) But we'll cross that bridge when we get there. 

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Maxine Dexter, a top candidate to take over Rep. Earl Blumenauer's spot in Oregon's 3rd Congressional District, has received an unprecedented amount of PAC money from the sorta-fishy group 314 Action Fund. 314's stated goal is to elect Democrats with a background in science, and while Dexter is a doctor, the PAC's $1.67 million contribution to her campaign is raising eyebrows. According to two Democratic members of Congress (who are staying anonymous), the massive pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC is channeling money through 314 to support Dexter—mostly to hurt her opponent, Susheela Jayapal, who has spoken out strongly for Palestine and called for a cease-fire in Gaza. Read the full story here

• The Portland Metro Chamber (FKA Portland Business Alliance) has called on the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to cancel the Southwest 4th Avenue Improvement Project—a plan to repave SW 4th Avenue between SW Lincoln and W Burnside Streets (the heart of downtown Portland), adding a protected bike lane, priority bus lane, and more. The project has been long-anticipated by people who frequently bike downtown, but the Metro Chamber folks say the $16.9 million project is "wasteful" because "the current infrastructure is not being fully utilized or increasing the number of bike trips." In a letter to PBOT penned by Chamber President Andrew Hoan, he says the existing north-south downtown bike lanes on Broadway and Naito are adequate. 

Okay. First of all, Andrew, you guys didn’t want either of those bike lanes either, and tried very hard to get the projects killed. (To no avail, I might add.) Second of all, the Broadway and Naito bike lanes are great, but they don’t serve the same purpose as the SW 4th Ave one will. Portland has a major problem with piecemeal and disconnected bike lanes—and that's the reason people aren't filling up the existing bike infrastructure! If you’re driving, you don’t have to deal with that: The network is very clearly and easily laid out for you. 

Reader, forgive me for the diatribe, but I felt the need to lay out the situation very clearly. The good news is that the Downtown Neighborhood Association has weighed in supporting the project, and PBOT (including Commissioner Mingus Mapps) seems for now, to be steadfast in their resolve to build this thing. 

• After reading the above rant, cool off with the newest Savage Love column...

• ...or a film review from the Mercury's Dom Sinacola, who writes about a very interesting-sounding movie called Evil Does Not Exist, by the director of Drive My Car

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS: 

• Stormy Daniels, the porn actor who is at the heart of the current criminal case against Donald Trump in New York, testified in court yesterday as a witness in the case. Trump's lawyers tried to push for a mistrial as Daniels gave testimony, but it didn't work, and she shared her damning story about the former president's attempt to pay her off to keep silent about a sexual encounter between the two. The story did not bode well for Trump's image, who came across as creepy, intimidating, and like a liar. (I mean, duh.) According to a transcript of the court proceedings, the judge could hear Trump "cursing audibly" and see him shaking his head during the testimony.  

• The initial wave of encampment protests for Gaza at American colleges seems to have subsided somewhat as some universities, from Northwestern to Brown to the University of California at Riverside, make progress in coming to an agreement with the protesting students. Seemingly, most of these agreements involve a nebulous commitment to "look into" divesting from Israeli companies or eliminating study abroad programs in Israel, two of the major demands from protesters. But many student activists are taking them as something. It's certainly an improvement from the administrations that called in the local riot cops and, essentially, told them to go crazy on their own students. But that, my friends, is a low bar. And as it's happening at the same time Israel is rolling tanks into Rafah, the last refuge for more than a million Palestinians in Gaza, it seems like the universities could take a stronger stance.  

• In news that's guaranteed to piss off the most annoying people you know (my favorite kind!) the Boy Scouts of America is rebranding to Scouting America—a more inclusive name for an evolving organization. The name-change comes after an extremely widespread sex-abuse scandal, as well as changing policies allowing girls and LGBTQ youth into the group. Boy Scouts of America (they aren't changing their name until early next year) President Roger Krone said "scouting under the name Scouting America will enable us to chart a course towards continued growth, relevance and impact." Okay, cool!

• Uh...(One person in the replies: "Did the worm die of starvation?")

• Finally...sometimes you gotta tell your kids to get up and face the real world. OKAY HAPPY WEDNESDAY BYE! 

 
 
 
 
 
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