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Good Morning, News: Oregon Legislature Passes Houseless Camping Bills, Northern Lights News, and Beaverton Cat Goes Viral

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by Blair Stenvick

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Portland city staff removes trash and belongings from a Laurelhust Park encampment.

Portland city staff removes trash and belongings from a Laurelhust Park encampment. ALEX ZIELINSKI

Good morning, Portland! Hope you’re getting ready for a full weekend of rain.

Here are the headlines.

• For the last 15 months, people imprisoned in Oregon have largely been unable to see their loved ones, with in-person visits paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with vaccinations increasing and new cases dropping, two Oregon prisons—the Oregon State Penitentiary and Columbia River Correctional Institution—are allowing visitors again.

• The Oregon Legislature passed two bills this week that will require cities to give proper notice before clearing the camps of unhoused people, and will limit how far cities can go in banning camping on outdoor public property. (For more background context on these bills, read the Mercury’s story about them from earlier this year.)

• Pot for shots is a flop:

• The Olympics start next month in Tokyo—meaning that many athletes are competing to qualify for the Olympics right now. That includes five local swimmers in the Portland area.

• President Joe Biden is expected to lay out his strategy for distributing 500 million COVID vaccines around the world in a speech later today. He also plans to urge other world leaders who are in a position to make vaccine donations of their own to join him.

• There’s long been speculation about what causes the Northern Lights—but now scientists have officially concluded that the cinematic phenomenon occurs “when disturbances on the sun pull on Earth’s magnetic field,” according to NPR.

• Here’s a strange and wonderfully written deep-dive into a particular kind of mysterious internet personality:

Congressional drama: The US Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is essentially ghosting a Black Republican who’s been trying to join for months now. Florida Rep. Byron Donalds—who voted against certifying Biden’s election win—says he hasn’t received a response from CBC leaders he’s contacted about joining the group. I’ll admit it, this is pretty funny!

Insect drama: Cicadas, those weird winged bugs who emerge every 17 years, are having a heyday in 2021, wreaking havoc everywhere they go. That includes delaying a White House press plane, causing a car collision in Ohio, and even clogging up weather forecasting devices.

Reality TV drama: Keeping Up With the Kardashians premiered in 2007. After 14 years, 18 seasons, and 440 episodes, the series finale will air on E! tonight. But don’t worry—there are already spin-off plans in the works at Hulu.

• And finally, we’ll end today with a cat, as is our custom.

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