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!

Who chooses the lights for the Morrison Bridge? Why, that would be YOU.
"Who chooses the lights for the Morrison Bridge?" Why, that would be YOU. MULTNOMAH COUNTY

GOOD AFTERNOON, PORTLAND! It's a gorgeous day, but will tomorrow be as impressive? The weather people say, "EHHHHHH... not so much." In other words, expect showers and a high of 47. Okay... LET'S DO SOME HEADLINES.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• The state is getting close to giving out all its available funding provided by the federal and state government, and so the Oregon Housing and Community Services department say they will be closing the application portal for emergency rent assistance FOR GOOD next week on March 14. So if you still need rent help, SIGN UP NOW. Our Alex Zielinski has more on the story.

• While it may have felt like a rainy, soaking winter, it still wasn't enough to alleviate Oregon's drought, and today Gov. Kate Brown issued a state of emergency for the drought-stricken Klamath County in the southern part of the state.

• A federal judge has put the smack-down on Oregon's ban on "love letters" —those heart-string-pulling missives sent to owners by prospective home buyers. The ban was put into effect because the state found them discriminatory and unfair, while the judge said, "Yeah, okay... but can you maybe punish the discrimination without violating free speech?" (That was my paraphrase... but I bet even his honor would say it was pretty accurate.)

• Love this question posed by OPB: "Who gets to decide the color of the lights on Portland’s Morrison Bridge?" Who indeed? Why, as it turns out, YOU INDEED.

• A "meet-cute" horror/thriller dating movie set in Portland, starring that one Marvel guy and that lady from Normal People? YES PLEASE THANK YOU! Plus there's all sorts of twisty-turnies as well in the new Hulu flick Fresh. Check out the Chase Hutchinson review!

• Land o'Goshen, there is SO MUCH great stuff in our annual SPRING ARTS GUIDE, whether you're a fan of film, visual art, reading, or... if you're like me... drag queens! Miss it at your intellectual peril!

IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:

Ukrainian citizens are getting increasingly caught in Russia's attacks against the country, which is putting extra pressure on the Biden administration and NATO to take harsher measures. Meanwhile, explosions heard in Kyiv are being explained by Ukrainian officials as two Russian fighter jets being blown out of the sky—though that report has not been substantiated yet. And while talks continue between Ukraine and Russia, Putin's ideas will most likely just get more Ukrainians killed.

• A victory for Democrats and fans of fair elections: The Supreme Court has allowed the congressional maps decided upon by two lower courts to stand, temporarily stopping Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania from gerrymandering the shit out of their states' districts. Obviously, the fight is still far from over.

• In less pleasant high court news: "The Supreme Court won't review the decision that freed Bill Cosby."

Gas prices in the US continue to rise (to well over $4 per gallon) as Washington, DC considers banning Russian oil. The good news? Those anti-vax dingbat truckers who are continually circling the nation's capitol are literally going to pay for their stupidity.

• Feeling thirsty? Then get ready for the boozy fun of the Mercury’s HIGHBALL—a week of specialty cocktails mixed by the city’s best bartenders… and for only $6 each! Coming at ya March 14!

• And finally... great. Here's yet ANOTHER thing a dog can do better than me. :(