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Good Afternoon, News: 70 Percent of Oregonians are Vaxxed, Heatwave Hotline Issues, and Air Travel Is Back

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by Isabella Garcia

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A pilot and three airplane staff walk through a terminal. All of them are wearing masks and the pilot is checking their watch.

Air travel exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time Thursday as Americans prepare for the holiday weekend. Spencer Platt / Getty Staff

In local news:

• Portland, Portland Fire & Rescue, and Multnomah County have all banned fireworks through at least July 14. And no, you can’t sneak up to Clark County to skirt the local bans—they banned the sale and use of fireworks, too. Local authorities have asked people not to call 911 to report fireworks and, instead, ask you to kindly remind any selfish assholes fireworks-users there is a ban.

• During peak hours of the heatwave, over 100 callers could not reach 2-1-1—the information hotline widely publicized as a primary source for cooling center information and transportation assistance. Local and state officials are looking for lessons in the failure in hopes of being better prepared for wildfire season.

• The death toll from the heatwave has risen to 59 people in Multnomah County and over 80 statewide. State and county officials say the number of heat-related deaths may continue to climb into next week, particularly because the isolation that factored into many of the deaths also impedes authorities’ ability to find the people who died. Multnomah County Health Officer Jennifer Vines is asking people to continue to check on their neighbors, especially if they live alone.

• Now that Governor Kate Brown has lifted almost all mask, capacity, and distancing requirements, Oregonians are free to decide their personal COVID safety restrictions. Here is OPB’s look at how a smattering of Oregon businesses, universities, and towns are handling the new freedom.

• Several Voodoo Doughnut workers walked out during the heatwave, citing dangerously hot working conditions. The business has fired three of those workers, saying they had “unexcused absences.” The workers plan to respond with legal action.

In national news:

• An independent review of the US military’s response to internal reports of sexual assault found commanders need more training to prevent “daily acts of demeaning language and sexual harassment.” The report lists 28 recommendations for improvement, including having independent, non-military sexual assault coordinators and victim advocates who can make recommendations to commanders.

• A Californian couple who bulldozed and buried 36 Joshua trees to make way for their new home have been fined $18,000 for damaging the trees. Joshua trees are a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act and cannot be damaged while under review for lasting protection.

• Air travel exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time Thursday. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 2,147,090 people nationwide on July 1.

• The Mercury is hosting a summer movie mash up of all of our film fests (HUMP, SPLIFF, and SLAY)! Get those tickets now!

• It’s officially the Mercury’s SUMMER OF SLUSHIES! Check out the local bars that are serving up $5 delicious, boozy frozen concoctions all month long!

• It’s been a heavy week. I hope you all are taking care of yourselves. If you need some help doing that, here are some peaceful nature sounds that researchers say can help boost your mood and decrease stress.

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