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A group of PPS board members pose for a picture together.
The Portland Public Schools school board will discuss a possible vaccine mandate for students during their Tuesday night board meeting. Portland Public Schools

In local news:

• A double homicide in Old Town this weekend marked Portland’s 70th and 71st murders this year, breaking the city’s previous record of 70 homicides in 1987. It’s a tragic milestone, but one that is not specific to Portland—murder rates nationwide rose approximately 30 percent in 2020. Plus, the population in Multnomah County has increased by 46 percent since the last record was set. Regardless, City Commissioner Mingus Mapps is citing the weekend homicides as a reason to “embrace our police department."

• The Portland Public Schools school board will discuss a possible vaccine mandate for students 12 and older this evening. Students at Grant High School walked out of class today in support of the possible mandate.

• If you’re driving on the freeway in Clackamas County and see a public bus driving in the shoulder lane, don’t freakout—they do that now! A pilot program is allowing public transit to skirt gridlocked freeways when traffic drops below 35 mph by pulling onto the shoulder and driving next to crawling cars. The program starts November 1.

• Thanks to pandemic-related funding, Portland Public Schools is offering free school lunch to all students, not just those who qualify as low income students. Portland students have welcomed the free food, especially high school students at schools with minimal low income students. Grant and Franklin High Schools both saw a 30 percent increase in lunch consumption compared to September 2019, and students at Lincoln High School ate 89 percent more school lunches.

In national news:

• A panel of advisors for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) endorsed Pfizer’s youth COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, paving the way for the FDA to make a decision on the kid-sized shots later this week. If approved, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would also be faced with a decision on whether to recommend the youth vaccines next week.

• If the deluge of Facebook-related stories this week has you scratching your head, here is an explainer from AP on how media outlets coordinated to cover “The Facebook Papers.”

• On that note, The Facebook Papers revealed that while the company had the tools and techniques to combat vaccine misinformation earlier this year, they decided not to because it could have lowered engagement on the social networking site and impacted company profits.

• The assistant director who gave Alec Baldwin the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” last week was previously fired from a 2019 film set after a gun unexpectedly discharged. Authorities have not charged anyone for the death of Halyna or injury of director Joel Souza, but criminal charges have not been ruled out.

• The stress of the pandemic has made daily decisions difficult, with almost one third of American adults saying they question their day-to-day choices, according to a new report from the American Psychological Association. "Our bodies don’t differentiate where the stress is coming from. They just know we’re stressed. So when that level of uncertainty starts to overwhelm our coping mechanisms, even the smallest tasks can start to feel overwhelming," said clinical psychologist Vaile Wright.

In Halloween festivities news:

• Get ready for the fun fright of your life with SLAY—the Mercury’s short HORROR film fest which is streaming online THIS WEEKEND from Oct 29-31, and showing LIVE and IN-PERSON at the Clinton Street Theater on Oct 29 & 30! GET THOSE TICKETS NOW.

• Plus, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts—are you? Check out these haunted (and not so haunted) tales from Portland's hallowed past and see for yourself!