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Good Afternoon, News: Brown Doesn’t Budge on Vax Deadline, Housing and Health Crises Compound for Portland Seniors, and Voter Registration Ends Today

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by Isabella Garcia

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A person in their car reaching out the window to put their ballot in a ballot dropbox. They are looking at the camera and giving a thumbs up

Today is the last day to register to vote in time for the November 2, 2021 Special Election. Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

In local news:

• ALERT! Today is the last day to register to vote in time for the November 2, 2021 special election. Oregonians with a valid drivers license, driving permit, or ID can register online, or fill out a paper Oregon Voter Registration Card at a post office, county library, or the county elections building at SE Morrison and 11th.

• As the October 18th vaccination deadline for healthcare workers and emergency responders looms closer, at least eight counties in Oregon have already declared states of emergency in preparation for mass resignations. The predominantly Southern and Eastern Oregon county leaders have asked Governor Brown to remove or extend the vaccination mandate deadline, but Brown hasn’t budged—probably because we’re in this little thing called A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS.

• Facing a widespread shortage of educators, Oregon is relaxing its requirements to become a substitute teacher. The state licensing agency is introducing an emergency rule this week to drop the requirement for substitute teachers to have a bachelors degree. In December 2019, Oregon had at least 8,300 active substitute teachers. As of this month, the state has about 4,700 active substitute educators.

• Residents at Rosemont Court, an affordable housing complex for seniors in North Portland, have been facing an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease—an illness spread by bacteria in water droplets—since January 2021. With the housing complex unable to identify the source of the outbreak, some residents are trying to escape the public health crisis by moving out, only to find they can’t afford to live anywhere else.

In national news:

• Facing a steep increase in electric bike theft in 2020, groups of bike delivery workers in New York City for services like Door Dash are banning together to keep each other safe using location sharing apps and neighborhood patrols. The peer groups are especially popular among undocumented delivery workers who don’t feel safe reporting attacks and stolen property to the police because of their immigration status.

• While food insecurity is slowly decreasing from the height of the pandemic, the amount of food being distributed by food banks across the nation is still 55 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. “There are people going back to work, but it’s slow going and God forbid you should need a car repair or something,” said the president of an Indiana food bank.

• With more moderate US House Democrats blocking the passage of the $3.5 trillion social spending package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is proposing shortening the timelines of several major programs in the package to lower the price tag. On Tuesday, Pelosi said the smaller bill would still address the three major pillars of the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” agenda—climate change, health care, and jobs—but while reducing the total spending to $2 trillion.

• Get ready for the fun fright of your life with SLAY—the Mercury‘s short HORROR film fest coming at ya online from Oct 22-31, and LIVE and IN-PERSON at the Clinton Street Theater on Oct 29 & 30! GET THOSE TICKETS NOW.

• And in closing, I’m sending all my love to Mary-Kate and Ashley, the two-headed baby turtle. You go, girls!

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