The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

Wine grapes
Trail Blazer CJ McCollum is blazing a new trail (get it?) in the wine industry. Janos Chiala / Getty Images

Good morning, Portland! Do you need some locally-sourced gift inspiration? We’ve got you covered. On to the headlines!

In local news:

• State House Minority Leader Christine Drazan has announced her plans to join the 2022 Governor's race. Drazan is a Republican from Canby, Oregon, who is “ready for change.” Drazan will join five other Republican candidates in the party primaries.

• In more housing news: Commissioner Dan Ryan announced a third Safe Rest Village site. To refresh your memory, the city is planning to open six Safe Rest Villages sometime next year where unhoused people can stay in “pods” and have access to various hygiene, case management, and behavioral health services.

• Zillow snapped up over 150 homes in the Portland area this year—mostly in East Portland’s more affordable neighborhoods—planning to make some repairs and resell them for a profit. The company relied heavily on algorithms to price and bid on houses, but then vowed to stop the practice after some public outcry (and it turned out algorithms often overpriced the houses and the resale wasn’t as lucrative as expected). The company still owns over 100 houses in the city.

• Blazers player CJ McCollum is now a winemaker! McCollum bought a vineyard in Willamette Valley this year with his wife, making him the first active NBA player to own a vineyard. “From growing up in Canton, Ohio, to not really liking wine and not really being exposed to those types of things, to creating my own label, to owning and operating my own land and being able to control the decision-making process of what I plant, when I plant it, who plants it and what that looks like — it’s a blessing and a privilege and one I don’t take for granted.”

In national news:

• The Justice Department will pay about $130 million to 40 survivors and family members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims. The settlement is in response to the FBI’s failure to properly investigate two separate tips that suggested the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, may shoot people at the school in 2018. The settlement is still being finalized.

• A new report shows that the fire alarm system in the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, may have malfunctioned the night the condo building collapsed, killing 98 people. The fire alarm was triggered before the collapse, but never went off. If the fire alarm siren had turned on properly, residents would have had an additional seven minutes to escape.

• Godspeed to all who are traveling this week:

• Five people died Sunday after a man drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. We now know the victims’ names: Tamara Durand, Wilhelm Hospel, Jane Kulich, LeAnna Owen, and Virginia Sorensen. You can learn more about them here.

• Attorneys prosecuting the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery will have an opportunity to respond to the defense’s closing arguments today before the jury starts deliberations. The defense claims the three men made a citizen’s arrest and then shot Arbery in self-defense. The prosecution argues that because the three men initiated the confrontation with Arbery that they can’t claim they were acting in self-defense.

• And finally, I'm going on day FOUR of this song being stuck in my head. I'm not sure what kind of deal Gwen Stenfani made with the devil to create such catchy tunes, but good for her. Join me!