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Someone lighting a firework
The sale and use of personal fireworks is now permanently banned in Portland. Sergejs Jevsjukovs / EyeEm / Getty Images

Good morning, Portland! The sun is shining and sunset is at 6 pm today—wahoo! Let’s get into the latest news.

In local news:

• Oregon has a severe shortage of public defenders, which is bad news for the integrity of our criminal justice system. Starting next week, the largest public defense firm in Washington County will no longer take on most new clients due to a lack of staff. Multnomah County is also struggling to find legal representation for people awaiting trial, prompting judges to dismiss cases altogether.

• *Super loud infomercial voice* If you lived near Southeast Harney Drive during February 2016, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Precision Castparts, a metal fabrication company, reached a $22.5 million settlement after its Southeast Portland facility allegedly polluted nearby homes with toxic metals in 2016. The settlement works out to about $3,500 per household in the area.

• The Portland Public Schools board adopted what is thought to be one of the most robust climate policies in the nation Tuesday. The policy requires PPS to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and develop curriculum that identifies systemic racism as a root cause of climate change.

• Speaking of climate change, Portland City Council permanently banned the sale and use of personal fireworks Wednesday, citing climate change. According to Fire Chief Sara Boone, climate change has exacerbated dry conditions in Portland around the Fourth of July (when fireworks were previously allowed to be sold in Portland), leading to an increase threat of fires that destroy wildlife and natural areas in and around the city. (Plus, they scare my dog!!)

In national and international news:

• Over 1 million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country as of Wednesday, the fastest mass exodus of refugees in this century. According to the United Nations, more than 2 percent of Ukraine’s population was forced out of the country in the first week of Russia’s attack. A vast majority of fleeing refugees have gone to Poland.

• A joint space mission between Europe and Russia looking for signs of life on Mars will be delayed due to issues with life on Earth. The mission, ExoMars, was set to launch a rover to the red planet in September, but European sanctions placed on Russia following its attack on Ukraine have stalled all progress on the program.

• Eight states have launched a joint investigation into TikTok and the app’s possible harmful impacts on users’ mental health. TikTok has 1 billion monthly users and is particularly popular in teen and youth age groups. Investigators allege that TikTok’s algorithm promotes content that can endanger the emotional and physical health of young app users.
• This is the last week to watch HUMP! You can catch a screening hosted by the one and only Dan Savage at Revolution Hall—GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

• And finally, thievery is forgiven when the thief is this darn cute.