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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! After a few chilly, soggy days, today’s partly cloudy weather should burn off by the afternoon and bring us sunshine into the evening, with a high of 68 degrees. 

Multnomah County’s elections director estimates about 95 percent of the ballots from Tuesday’s election will likely be counted by today, firming up most of the results. According to data from the Oregon Secretary of State, statewide voter turnout in the primary was clocked at just over 29 percent by Wednesday. Multnomah County’s turnout was slightly better, at 32 percent. Important to note: Ballots are still being counted, and elections offices note that since Oregon now allows any ballots postmarked by election day to be counted, it could be a few more days before the dust fully settles.

Speaking of elections…

In LOCAL NEWS:

  • Big money. Low turnout: Maxine Dexter, a doctor and current Oregon state representative, picked up the Democratic nomination in Oregon’s 3rd District Congressional race. The 3rd District race was one of the most closely watched and scrutinized, largely because of hefty out-of-state spending on a seat that’s been held by Rep. Earl Blumenauer for nearly 30 years. When it was reported that a pro-Israel lobbying group was secretly paying for ads to get Dexter elected, the race drew national attention. Dexter will face Republican Joanna Harbour in November, though Harbour’s chances of winning in that district are slim.
  • One congressional race that could actually be close: the 5th District, which is currently represented by Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer. The 5th District covers a whole buttload of territory, spanning Deschutes County, most of Clackamas County, small portions of Multnomah County (including parts of SE Portland), parts of Marion County and even Linn County. Janelle Bynum, a Democrat and current Oregon state representative, will face Chavez-DeRemer in November for the seat that Dems desperately want to flip blue. 
  • Local measures: they all passed. We renewed the gas tax to "fix our streets" and re-upped the Portland Teachers Levy, and we’ll continue forking over money to the Oregon Zoo, even though local Metro taxpayers don’t get a discount on admission, and the zoo has come under fire in the past for its track record of keeping, breeding, buying, and selling elephants with far too little space for the massive creatures to roam.  Voters also agreed to fund flood prevention infrastructure. 
  • County races: Current Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt won’t get another term, after a deputy prosecutor in the DA’s office, Nathan Vasquez, unseated Schmidt. 

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, which had a whopping four seats up for election, will see current Commissioner Julia Brim-Edwards returning for another term in District 3. Meghan Moyer will face Vadim Mozyrsky for the District 1 seat in the November general election. In District 2, Shannon Singleton will face either Sam Adams or Jessie Burke in November. By Wednesday night, Adams was ahead of Burke by less than two percentage points for the November runoff.

  • State races: Elizabeth Steiner will challenge Republican Brian Boquist in November for Oregon treasurer–a seat held by Democrats for more than 30 years. Democrat Tobias Read will face Dennis Linthicum to be Oregon’s next secretary of state (why are these partisan positions?!) and Democrat Dan Rayfield will square off with Will Lathrop, the Republican nominee for Oregon’s attorney general.
  • (dis)Honorable mention: More than a dozen eastern Oregon counties want out of the Beaver State and into the Gem State. Crook County voters were the latest to approve a measure seeking to join the Greater Idaho movement. 

You can check up on the Oregon House of Representatives races here.

Dear Oregon lawmakers, 

Please work on legislation to give us all a four-day work week, so it can feel like Memorial Day weekend all year long.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Scott Losse (@scottlosse)

  • In what can only be described as a textbook example of why journalists are crucial to good, accountable government: Multnomah County is retracting claims previously made by its EMS medical director, after OPB challenged cardiac arrest data provided by the county. The EMS director previously said a surge in drug overdoses is causing more people to die of a heart attack after being treated by paramedics. OPB found inconsistencies in the county's data, and after a review of 10 years worth of stats, the county agreed its EMS director’s data and conclusions–which have been shared with paramedics and EMTs in training materials–weren’t solid. The more likely culprit of an increase in cardiac arrest deaths is slower ambulance response times, which is a known problem among county officials.
  • In other accountability journalism: a new Street Roots report reveals Rapid Response Bio Clean, the city of Portland's contracted hazardous waste removal company, is trying to dodge paying a court-ordered judgement to the family of a homeless woman who died after Rapid Response confiscated her medication and failed to give it back in 2019. Rapid Response is the company that responds to most, if not all requests for sweeps of tents and encampments. Other recent reporting in Street Roots details multiple lawsuits and complaints against the private company. 
  • Tomorrow marks the opening day of the 2024 Portland Rose Festival. Each year, the weeks-long festival brings a bevy of events to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Tomorrow night, downtown fireworks will kick off the celebration. A carnival! Parades! Dragon boat races! Beer fest! And of course, the annual spring celebration and fair wouldn't be complete without a good ol' fashioned pageant. Check out the events page here.

In NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

  • High winds during an election rally in Mexico on Wednesday caused a stage to collapse, killing nine people and injuring another 54. The outdoor event took place in San Pedro Garza García in Northern Mexico. The stage and a large video screen were swept up in a gust, as weather forecasts warned of winds up to 40 miles an hour.
  • If you've tried to snag front row tickets to a show at any mid-size to large arena recently, only to be met with ticket prices exceeding your monthly rent or mortgage, it's likely because Live Nation, an event promotion company, purchased Ticketmaster more than a decade ago in a merger the US Department of Justice now says created a monopoly on live shows and ticketing that violates antitrust laws. The DOJ is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation today.
  • The feds didn't block Live Nation's acquisition of Ticketmaster back in 2010, but the DOJ said Live Nation could not pressure concert venues to use its ticketing software, issuing a 10-year consent decree that was extended back in 2020. Now, the DOJ says Live Nation has abused its ownership of concert venues and stronghold over the ticketing industry, leading to rampant ticket scalping and exorbitant ticket prices for consumers. The lawsuit could lead to the two companies severing ownership ties, if a court orders it.
  • Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who leaked several classified US documents during the war in Afghanistan, will likely appeal an extradition order from the US government. The US filed espionage charges against Assange after he coordinated with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who uploaded thousands of sensitive Army logs and documents, along with videos of military operations in Afghanistan.
  • A court in London previously ruled that Assange should be extradited to the US to stand trial, but two higher court judges ruled he has the right to appeal the extradition order, noting US attorneys haven't guaranteed Assange would be afforded the same free speech protections as an American citizen.