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Copious orange barrels continue to block the bike and pedestrian portion of Naito Parkway. Suzette Smith

Good Afternoon, Portland. That weather outside has turned a shockingly nice 60 degrees so here's your somewhat horrible, but not-all-bad afternoon news.


• Hours away from lifting Oregon's indoor mask requirement, the state's health leaders debuted a new equity-focused COVID-19 recovery plan: Resilience in Support of Equity (RISE). The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) stressed that, while the pandemic isn't over, the OHA will be focused on expanding healthcare to vulnerable communities, while also working to “restore social cohesion.” Isabella Garcia breaks down this important Friday afternoon information dump.

• The car lanes of Better Naito Forever have reopened, but the multi-use pedestrian thruway remains closed. When will all those orange barrels be gone and the street finally be available for people to use? Bike Portland took a temperature check of where the project is at.

• Today in "Where exactly am I meant to water the horses I ride around downtown Portland?"

• If you're into local history—or even just loved that Netflix series Wild Wild Country—check out our review of Rajneeshpuram, a new book which takes a deep dive into the cult's inner workings. History buff/book critic Joe Streckert doesn't hold back, writing "King makes it pretty clear from the beginning that he hates the Rajneeshees. He introduces them to the reader by showing followers of Bhagwan doing the unthinkable: Painting polished wooden fixtures in an old house, and putting carpet over hardwood floors."


• Russia is still shelling the stuffing out of Ukrainian cities. CNN reports that Russian forces may be expanding to the west for the first time. They bombed two western cities, Lutsk, and Ivano-Frankivsk, for the first time and central city Dnipro, which would be an important capture, in order to cross the massive Dnieper River that bisects the country.

• Russia, still upset that everyone else is upset over its invasion of Ukraine, will ban access to Instagram in its country on March 14—it already banned Facebook last week. Russian authorities have called for Meta to be labeled an extremist organization.

• That means there's still three days for people in Russia to bear witness to all the photos of hospitalized children—wounded by shrapnel and gunfire—that hit Instagram yesterday. Don't click through that link if you don't want to be supremely upset, but if you do, make sure you see the last frame in the series.

• Here at home in the US, the assistant principal of a Mississippi elementary school was fired for reading I Need a New Butt! by Dawn McMillan to a group of second graders, as part of Read Across America week. "I'm a firm believer that reluctant readers need the silly, funny books to hook them in," he told the Times.

• Today in WOLF NEWS: Misinformation in California caused some cattle industry workers to think state wildlife officials were importing wolves to the state. Kent Laudon, a wolf biologist does what he can to dispel the rumors, especially as gray wolves in 44 of the lower 48 states were recently returned to the endangered species list.

• 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!

• Sound on, and prepare to sing this one at karaoke tonight—or just croon it to your sisters on the field.