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!

Peter Dazeley / getty images

Good afternoon, Portland! Here's the latest on local news, national news, and a little bit of fun.

In local news:

• At least 126 people who died in Multnomah County in 2020 were homeless at the time of their death, according to the new annual "Domicile Unknown" report compiled by the county and Street Roots. The average age of those who died was 46, which is 31 years below the average life expectancy for those living in the US. The 2020 total is the highest number the county's seen since it began collecting this data in 2011.

• Students and environmental advocates urged Portland Public Schools (PPS) board members to advance the district’s proposed climate change response policy to a board vote at a school board meeting Tuesday. The student advocates are fearful the climate policy will only continue to be weakened and never be put into action if board members don’t vote on the policy soon. “As a young climate advocate, I’m pretty sick of viewing PPS as the opposition,” one student said at the meeting.

• A glimpse into inner-SE's future:

• TriMet has a new Safety Response Team, which is trained in de-escalation techniques and was formed in response to the racial justice protests of 2020. But rider advocates fear that the new team is pretty similar to existing transit safety workers—especially because they're all being trained and employed by the same company.

In national news:

• From the AP: "Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, admitting for the first time that he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck—even after he became unresponsive—resulting in the Black man’s death."

• President Joe Biden plans to restart federal student loan payments in February—even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc on people's budgets, and even though student loan debt was a nightmare hellscape even before the pandemic.

• As Republican state governments and their friends at the Supreme Court continue to decimate abortion rights in this country, here's one piece of good news: The FDA could soon make it easier for people to get prescribed abortion pills.

Rest in power, bell hooks:

And just for fun:

• Portland's One Grand Gallery is currently hosting the global conclusion of artist Brett Westfall's touring art show, Signs of Life, featuring strawberries painted on Nike shoes as an LA love note to Portland. Check out some cool photos from the opening here.

• And finally, please enjoy this person's reaction to graffiti that says "Have Fun:"