GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Go outside and enjoy the 75 degree weather today. We’re in for a high of 77, with temps cooling back down at night to the low 60s. We love to see it. 

In LOCAL NEWS: 

  • Remember when state leaders found out that Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s director and other employees were snagging coveted and sometimes rare bottles of bourbon like Pappy Van Winkle, all for themselves? Well, the Oregon Department of Justice is not recommending criminal charges for the #Bourbongate employees who had expensive bottles of bourbon set aside. A report released Monday details how OLCC employees would have coveted bottles of bourbon sent to liquor stores where only they could purchase them, rather than allowing the liquor to be sold to the general public.
  • Investigators noted there was no policy explicitly prohibiting or allowing the practice, but the OLCC has since adopted a policy preventing the “set aside” scheme. Despite getting access to banking records, state investigators still didn’t have enough evidence to prove wrongdoing, but an Oregon Government Ethics Commission investigation will take place soon. Frankly, I’m more surprised that so many people love bourbon. Who are these OLCC employees? A buncha cowboys? Men in suits with slicked back hair? (Please do not come for me, I’m just a trashy gal who never developed a taste for brown liquor.)
  • Grant High School students will soon have their phones and smart watches taken away during school hours. The school’s principal announced the new policy as a way to foster a “more focused and engaging learning environment.” Students will have to keep their devices stored in a personal, locking pouch made by the company Yondr, and won’t be able to retrieve them until the end of each school day. So far, looks like Grant High is the only PPS school to enact the policy.
  • Popular Music—the duo featuring former Portlander and Parenthetical Girls vocalist Zac Pennington—released its debut album Minor Works and is now gearing up for a small west coast tour. In Melissa Locker’s piece, Pennington describes rediscovering song writing during the COVID lockdown, and how Popular Music managed to get a 17-piece Russian chamber orchestra to contribute to the record, via Zoom. You can catch the band this Friday at Holocene.
  • Listen up. Election day is one week away. Have you voted yet? Can’t decide who should be elected? The Mercury’s Election Strike Force has recommendations for you. Check out our endorsements and the reasoning behind them, or, if you trust us and you’re short on time, consult this handy cheat sheet

In NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

  • Bridge goes boom: On Monday afternoon, a span of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge was demolished with explosives, after a ship crashed into the bridge in March, killing six construction workers. The ship, which lost power before it struck a span of the bridge, was still lodged under the bridge at the crash site.
  • Israeli military forces continue advancing on Rafah, the area where more than a million Palestinians fled to escape death and destruction when the IDF first started bombing Gaza. The IDF claims to have taken out multiple armed cells on Rafah border crossing. The incursion is continuing, despite growing disapproval from some of Israel’s allies. Earlier today, Palestinian truckers told Reuters news agency that trucks providing aid to Gaza are at risk, after Israeli protesters wrecked trucks carrying aid to the area.
  • Michael Cohen took the witness stand Monday in Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial. Cohen, Trump's former attorney, said he arranged payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, on Trump's behalf shortly before the 2016 election. Prosecutors say the payments were made to keep both women from going public about their sexual encounters with Trump. Have we developed “Fallout”-style bunkers yet, in case this lunatic gets re-elected?