ALLIE SULLBERG
We can’t sugar-coat it: The last 14 months have been rough.

We also can’t pretend we’re completely in the clear now. The COVID-19 pandemic killed millions of people worldwide, and has taken a toll on our physical and mental health, our economy, and our culture in ways that we’re just beginning to understand.

But as we write this, over 65 percent of Multnomah County residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, and thousands more Oregonians are getting their shots every day. Restaurants, schools, entertainment venues, and workplaces are starting to open up—even if it is at a two-steps-forward, one-step-back pace. People are finally starting to feel like they can plan for the future again, even knowing that the world won’t look the same as it did before March 2020.

The aim of the Mercury’s Spring Reawakening guide is twofold: To take stock of what we’ve gone through and help figure out what happens next in Portland. We’ve got updates on the state of local entertainment and sports venues, a check-in with Portland’s restaurant industry, and a list of low-key spots where you can ease back into the outside world. We’ve also got advice from a therapist about facing this new stage, and recommendations from a budtender on how to adapt your weed habit post-pandemic. Finally, a personal essay considers what this “reopening” means for people who experience mental health issues, and who actually found solace in the slowed-down, locked-down culture.

A year ago, the team here at the Mercury wasn’t sure whether our publication would survive the pandemic—and while our staff has shrunk and our print publication has ceased, we’re still here, thanks to reader support. You’re still here, too. Let’s figure out the next part together.