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Good Afternoon, News: Portland Police Hatch New Gun Violence Response Team, Oregon National Guard Helps With Snowstorm Relief, and Weather Causes Vaccine Backlog

by Blair Stenvick

Winter weather has left many Texans without clean water access.

Winter weather has left many Texans without clean water access. Joe Raedle / Getty images

Here’s your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin’!)

In local news:

• Last year, Portland City Council voted to disband the Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) Gun Violence Reduction Team, on the grounds that it disproportionately targeted Black Portlanders. Now, PPB has created a new unit meant to respond gun violence—and they’re promising it will have less racist outcomes. Alex Zielinski has more.

• Gov. Kate Brown is sending the Oregon National Guard to provide wellness checks to households that are still without power in Clackamas County. As of Friday afternoon, about 60,000 Portland General Electric customers still don’t have electricity.

• Gov. Brown also plans to announce the next round of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility next Friday, February 26. Tune in then to see who gets voted off the island!

• For your ears:

In national news:

• Catastrophic winter weather here in Oregon, down in Texas, and elsewhere in the country has caused a serious delay in the COVID vaccination effort. In total, the US faces a backlog of about six million vaccine doses.

• Parler, the conservative social media app that stands for free speech hate speech and inciting violence, has recently gone back online after an extended hiatus. And now its founder says he can’t access the app! That’s right: The founder of Parler… the self-espoused free speech website… was banned… from Parler.

• The Biden administration is working to send disaster relief funds to Texans stranded without electricity, heat, or clean water. In addition to immediate relief efforts, Biden also hopes to help Texans who are facing extensive property damage from the storms.

• I guess you have to hand it to them….?

And just for fun:

• Do you miss live comedy? (“YES!”) Do you want to support the Mercury AND laugh your buttz off in the process? (“YES! YES!”) Then the upcoming Wednesday, March 3, I, Anonymous Show (Livestream Edition) with special guest Matt Braunger is for you!

• And finally, this Bodega Cat is everyone’s mood right about now. Here’s hoping for a restful weekend and a better week next week for all of you!

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