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GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Today the weather is set to be sunny with temps in the mid-70s before climbing into the TOO HOT region later this week. 

But let's just live in the moment and take things as they come, okay? Maybe weather forecasters should learn a thing or two about mindfulness. Alright, here is the news you need to know today.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

Fleet Week begins today, which is good news for people who like to see emblems of war and (cute?) sailors on the Willamette River, but bad news for those who dislike the American (and Canadian) military-industrial complex and/or people who need to travel between Portland's east and west sides. (Sorry, I'm a major killjoy.) The Steel, Broadway, and Burnside bridges will require extra lifts tomorrow afternoon as the ships from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Royal Canadian Navy arrive. On the plus side, this is another great opportunity to remind everyone of the need for the MAX tunnel between the Lloyd Center and downtown—which would take a lot of weight off the aging Steel Bridge and come in handy during Fleet Week, too. For now, plan for extra travel time. 

Portland Public Schools has chosen its new superintendent: Kimberlee Armstrong, who currently serves as the deputy superintendent of Vancouver's Evergreen Public Schools. Armstrong previously served as PPS's chief academic officer, and she'll be the first Black woman to serve as the district's superintendent. School board members hope she will help lead a turnaround on the lagging reading and math achievement rates in the district, especially amongst Black and Indigenous students. She's also tasked with handling a difficult financial situation, as PPS plans to make major budget cuts (and big layoffs) in the coming academic years. 

• Wonder why the lines at Walgreens are so unbearable? It’s probably in part because Oregonians don’t have many pharmacies to choose from. According to a new AP analysis, Oregon has the second-fewest retail pharmacies per capita in the country, and more and more keep closing. This is a problem in Portland, but it’s especially hard for people who live in more rural parts of the state who have very few options for where to fill their prescriptions. And, like, this is a life or death situation, people! Advocates, including small, independent pharmacy owners (who have been pushed out of the market in recent years), hope this issue can be addressed in next year’s state legislative session. 

• Speaking of the 2025 legislative session, members of the Oregon Joint Committee on Transportation began their statewide tour to discuss next year's major transportation funding package yesterday. 

More on this soon. 

• Remember—it's still the Mercury's HIGHBALL WEEK, meaning you can get creative, delicious cocktails from 29 locations in Portland for only $8. And yeah, $8 might've been a normal price for a cocktail before BIDEN-flation (lol) took over, but most fancy cocktails are more like $12, $13, $14, or even $15 these days!!! So $8 is a great deal. Here are a few options that intrigue me: The Hibiscus Paloma at The Rambler, the Mile High Club at Lucky Horseshoe Lounge, and the La Isla Bonita at Double Barrel Tavern. Take advantage of the amazing deal happening until June 9.

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

• Thousands of Israeli nationalists marched through a Palestinian part of Jerusalem today, some of them shouting "Death to Arabs" and other anti-Islamic slogans along the way. The march was to commemorate "Jerusalem Day," marking the beginning of Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, which meant pushing out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank. In recent years, the annual march has been marked by violence—most notably in 2021, when the event triggered a devastating 11-day war that killed hundreds of people in Gaza. This year, of course, the march comes at a very sensitive time, as more than 36,000 people in Gaza have been killed by the Israeli military since October 7. And despite growing opposition to the Israeli offensive, leaders aren't in a hurry to stop the attacks. So: Really bad time for a provocative, racist march through Jerusalem. Not that there is ever a good time for that. 

• Also...

• This morning, the Boeing Starliner space capsule lifted off from Cape Canaveral with two NASA astronauts en route to the International Space Station. This is the third attempted Starliner launch, as previously-scheduled launches have been plagued by issues. With that history, plus Boeing's recent trouble flying planes WITHIN Earth's orbit, I guess those astronauts are pretty brave. I certainly wouldn't be in their position. But I also don't have advanced degrees in STEM or an interest in going to space, so who am I to talk? 

• Understanding its benefits to democracy (which usually works against their party), Republicans in five states have banned ranked-choice voting over the past two months. That means the voting system is now prohibited in ten red-leaning states, and Missouri might join them if voters approve a Republican-backed measure to ban it this fall

Missouri Senator Ben Brown defended the ballot measure by saying the state’s GOP believes in the “one person, one vote system of elections that our country was founded upon.” Lol! Is this like the new “Adam and Steve”? 

GUYS! There is no downside to ranked choice voting for the voters. It’s only bad for the people who have rigged the system to win even when they don’t deserve to. I hope Missourians (is that what they’re called) vote no on this, but we’ll see how hard the propaganda hits.

• Finally...you should probably see these otters. Ok BYE!