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Good morning, Portland. We've now entered the seventh week of life under coronavirus. How you all holding up? Here's a quick roundup of the news you may have missed over the weekend while you were (hopefully) ignoring breaking news updates and
Where's Kim? No one's quite sure why North Korea leader Kim Jong-un hasn't made a public appearance in two weeks (including at his grandfather's b-day party)—so conspiracy theorists and reactionary media outlets are filling in the blanks. Maybe he has a sprained ankle, or maybe it was heart surgery that left him brain dead. Or, maybe he's sick with COVID-19. You decide!
Another Weekend, Another Anti-Government Protest: Thousands of protesters descended on the Wisconsin State Capitol Friday calling on state officials to lift the state's coronavirus restrictions. Many carried assault-style rifles and waved Trump flags. One sign in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd: "Death.... is preferable to communism." Hm.
Two More Months? As governors across the US start to to reopen parts of their economies (Georgia's allowing movie theaters to reopen as soon as today), the White House's top public health experts say social distancing should probably remain in place for at least two more months.
Meanwhile, in Oregon City: Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay received a stern letter from Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Friday, after he suggested reopening his city before Gov. Brown lifts her stay-at-home rule. Rosenblum threatened to take legal action if Holladay violated Brown’s order. On Sunday, Oregon City Commissioners sent letter to Brown praising her stay-at-home order and explaining that Holladay had been making moves to reopen without their input—an Oregon City version of "I don't know her."
A cool thing I tweeted:
I love maps and I love human creativity, so I especially love that @CityLab asked people across the world to draw a map of their life under COVID-19. Bonus: A map of Portland's waterfront/goose kingdom by @suzettesmith!! https://t.co/ZXqbGa7DDT
— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) April 26, 2020
Outbreak at the Slaughterhouse: More than 110 workers at a Southeast Washington Tyson Fresh Meats plant have tested positive for COVID-19. Alarmingly, this outbreak has not stopped the facility from continuing to slaughter and process meat. (Let's try not blaming this outbreak on immigrants this time, shall we?)
Good Guy Ted: It took an Oregon Supreme Court ruling to convince Mayor Ted Wheeler that his re-election campaign should comply with the city and county's voter-approved campaign finance limits, which caps individual donations at $500. After last week's ruling upholding the campaign finance rules, Wheeler told us Friday that he'd no longer be taking donations over $500 (but he isn't returning the hefty donations he's already collected).
Locked Up in Lockdown: A new study shows that Oregonians are split on whether or not inmates nearing the end of their prison sentence or those considered a "low risk" to the community should be released from prison due to the threat of COVID-19. It's unlikely, however, this news will convince Gov. Kate Brown to change her mind about not releasing state inmates due to COVID-19's spread.
Hey look, even Alec Baldwin agrees:
Alec Baldwin to @NYGovCuomo: "As this pandemic spreads public health, safety & basic moral decency demand you use your authority to issue clemency to those most vulnerable in our prisons & reduce the overall population. This would show great leadership." pic.twitter.com/42ahNwMcGH
— nyc law grrrl (@nyclawgrrrl) April 26, 2020
Not So Lucky: Oregon's reliance on video lottery revenue has nudged the state's budget into a free-fall during the COVID-19 shutdowns. According to the Oregonian, this cut in critical funding will "shortchange schools, economic development, state parks, veterans’ affairs, and the Oregon Health Authority, all of which receive dedicated revenues from the lottery."
Justice, Served: Three former employees at Multnomah County's Diane Wade House, a residential facility for formerly incarcerated Black women or those with a mental illness, have filed a lawsuit against the nonprofit that runs the home, alleging racial discrimination.
Reproductive Health Under COVID-19: Many states have used the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to ban abortion or other reproductive health care. Not Oregon. But, this doesn’t mean that the coronavirus hasn’t changed the way nonprofit abortion provider Planned Parenthood does business in Oregon. Catch the Mercury's interview with Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette about how social distancing needs have affected their clinics' operations (and how some of those changes might become permanent solutions).