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Good Afternoon, News: Oregon Wildfire Prompts Evacuations, Big Meat Gets Hacked, and We’re Going to Venus

by Blair Stenvick

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Venus. NASA

In local news:

• It’s now been a year since the current wave of protests against police violence, spurred by the killing of George Floyd, broke out on Portland streets. Since then, we’ve seen weird half-measures by Portland City Council, debates over semantics, evolving protest and policing tactics, and a whole lot of tear gas. But what has actually changed in the last year when it comes to policing in Portland? The inimitable Alex Zielinski breaks that down in an excellent new comprehensive five-part series, and you can read it all right now!

• A wildfire near The Dalles has prompted evacuations in Wasco County, and has caused closures of Interstate-84 in both directions. Get ready for a whole summer of this, folks!

• As the Interstate-5 expansion project in Portland’s Rose Quarter lumbers forward, a question remains unanswered within the Black community: What does it mean for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to address and repair the harm to the Black community caused by the original I-5 project? That was the topic of a Sunday webinar hosted by the Portland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

• Did you catch the heartbreaker of a Blazers-Nuggets playoff game last night, in which the Blazers managed to lose despite a literally record-breaking performance from Dame Lillard? The spectacle is prompting some basketball fans to opine that Portland simply doesn’t deserve Dame—but the Blazers still have time to turn things around and win the first playoffs round.

In national news:

• Yet another state legislature has passed a transphobic, wildly unnecessary bill banning trans kids from competing in sports teams associated with their gender—this time, in Florida. Oh, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law yesterday, on the first day of Pride month.

Thousands of emails to and from Anthony Fauci, sent during the first few months of the pandemic, were made public today through a Freedom of Information Act request. The emails paint a portrait of a tirelessly dedicated public servant who responded to nearly every question he received, day and night, and worked to preserve a good working relationship with Chinese health officials despite the recklessness of the Trump administration. Can’t wait for the wave of deeply damaging and nonsensical conspiracy theories that’s bound to come out of this email dump!

• Have you seen the video of the Texas high school graduate who ditched her planned valedictorian speech and instead spoke frankly about the dangerous threats to abortion rights in her home state? You can watch Paxton Smith’s speech, and learn more about her, here.

• Remember a couple weeks ago, when a cyber attack caused short-lived gas shortages and panic-buying in the Southeast United States? Now, the meat industry is facing the same problem—JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat supplier, faced a supply chain setback this week following an “organized cybersecurity attack” in North America and Australia. Those hackers better leave my Impossible Burgers alone!

And just for fun:

• If you could use a laugh, be sure to check out the Mercury’s own live outdoor comedy show, happening next weekend.

• And finally: Mars is OVER! Venus is where it’s at now.

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