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Good morning, Portland! It has officially been one year since hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, delivering a heavy blow to this country’s prided democratic system. While some things have changed—over 700 of those insurrectionists are facing criminal charges and Trump’s cronies are being subpoenaed left and right—much remains the same (or arguably worse). A live update of the day’s remembrance events and commentary can be found here.
In local news:
• About 1,200 city workers are preparing to strike over low wages. Administrative staff, building inspectors, water filtration experts, electricians, accountants, and more have reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the city of Portland, which refuses to concede higher cost of living increases and competitive wages with private employers. The strike could start as soon as January 10 if an agreement is not made.
• The Oregon Health Authority has received 200,000 of the 6 million at-home COVID-19 test kits it ordered ahead of the expected omicron surge. Those tests will start being distributed to healthcare workers, community organizations, and K-12 schools as soon as Friday.
• Portland officials awarded a $12 million grant to a local nonprofit to buy portable cooling units for vulnerable Portlanders. Then, the Oregonian published evidence of financial crimes committed by the nonprofit’s director. Portland City Council revoked the grant and gave it to a new, properly vetted organization, but the mistake may cause a delay in getting life-saving cooling units to Portlanders before the next heatwave.
• Public defenders will no longer pay district attorney’s offices to retrieve documents and other materials relating to criminal cases, the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services announced in December. The change has created friction within the already fraught relationship between county prosecutors and lawyers who represent people facing criminal charges who can't afford an attorney. Alex Zielinski explains the details and why they matter here.
“I see the power of community, I see the power of us coming together,” said Lucia Nguyen, owner of Lucia Isabel Collection dress shop. The community has raised more than $20K for her to rebuild her store. https://t.co/6NCfskHrwL
— Samantha Swindler (@editorswindler) January 6, 2022
In national news:
• President Joe Biden marked the first anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol with a speech condemning the insurrection and Donald Trump’s “web of lies about the 2020 election.” Vice President Kamala Harris also called for the Senate to pass voting rights legislation to bolster the democratic process, a move many think is unlikely due to an expected Republican-led filibuster.
• The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Pfizer booster shot for kids as young as 12 Wednesday. Youth ages 12 to 17 should receive the shot five months after completing their initial vaccination series. Oregon’s regional immunization board must adopt the recommendation before local pharmacies can start giving out the boosters.
What it's like to be the child of a January 6 insurrectionist one year later –
from the POV of 19yo Jackson Reffitt who turned his dad into the FBI and 19yo Helena Duke who says she's "grieving a parent who is still living."
My latest for @TeenVogue:https://t.co/UzFkQG2eFP
— Fortesa Latifi (@fortesalatifi) January 4, 2022
• Seattle police faked radio chatter about Proud Boys roaming the streets carrying weapons and “looking for confrontation” on June 8, 2020, as part of a misinformation effort to disrupt the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP. An investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability found the ploy “improperly added fuel to the fire,” yet the two Seattle police employees who directed the misinformation effort and violated police policy already left the department and won’t face consequences.
• During a press conference urging big businesses to return in-person to offices despite rising COVID cases, New York Mayor Eric Adams said that “low-skill workers” like cooks, messengers, and dishwashers rely on commuters for business because they themselves “don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office.” Gee, the fall from essential worker to low-skilled dummy sure happened fast!
• More on “skilled” vs “unskilled” workers because this is the hill I’ve decided to die on, apparently: