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A Concordia University building
The University of Oregon plans to purchase the Concordia University campus in Northeast Portland. Google Maps

Happy first day of March, Portland! If you squint, you can see spring in the distance. Let’s get into the headlines!

In local news:

• The University of Oregon unveiled plans to purchase the former Concordia University campus in Northeast Portland and turn it into a new children’s behavioral health institute. The institute will aim to have professors, researchers, and students collaborate with Oregon public schools, families, and community groups to address mental health issues faced by Oregon youth. The institute will be funded by a whopping $425 million donation from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose wife is a UO alum.

• ICYMI: Oregon is lifting its indoor mask mandate March 12, citing a decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. I, for one, have gotten very used to covertly talking to myself in public and will continue wearing my mask until I can phase out the habit. If you see a small woman muttering to herself in the grocery store, mind your business.

• The Zenith saga continues. Last week, Zenith appealed a local Land Use Board’s decision to uphold Portland’s right to deny Zenith a document the company needs to obtain an operational permit (did you get all that?). The appeal comes as no surprise to the city. The appeals court will hear arguments in April and will either affirm or overturn the local board’s decision.

• Do you like art? You do? Well then, you’ll love the Mercury’s Spring Arts Preview! Art by future ghosts, graphic novels about student homelessness, Frida Kahlo and friends—we’ve got it all!

• Eager for some entertainment but dismayed by the weather? Take cover at a screening of HUMP! hosted by none other than Dan Savage at Revolution Hall! Snag your tickets here.

In national and international news:

• In Russia/Ukraine news: Russian military forces attacked several civilian sites in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Tuesday. Meanwhile, a convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks is making its way towards Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. According to the UN, at least 136 Ukrainians have been killed during Russia’s attack.

• Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion last week that labeled gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth “child abuse.” The recent opinion—and other state efforts to criminalize transition-related healthcare—has left transgender youth and their families on edge and fearful for their safety.

• President Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address Tuesday evening. In preparation, fencing has been placed around the Capitol building, police cars will be stationed at all major intersections nearby, and the US National Guard is on standby. Officials say the extra levels of precaution are the “new normal” in the wake of the January 6 insurrection.

• Meta, AKA Facebook, says it has discovered Russian efforts to undermine trust in the Ukrainian government, as well as attempts to hack Ukrainian officials and journalists on its website. Meta has removed the associated accounts and alerted the social media companies of its findings, according to a company statement.

• It may be Tuesday, but every day can be Moshu Monday if you just believe.