🌱 Has COVID Ended? + Sleep Deprived Portland

Happy Friday, Portland! Normally, this is day has a true party feel, but it's hard to follow on the heels of St. Patrick's Day. But this is Portland, and we can make a Monday into a celebration. There's lots to talk about today, so let me get right into it.

First, today's weather:

It's a cloudy, but warm-ish, day with a high of 58.

Here are the top stories today in Portland:

  1. COVID-19 numbers are low, mask mandates are lifted and many Oregonians feel a sense of relief after two full years of a global pandemic. The current state of things begs the question — is this the end of COVID? One local health official said she's cautiously optimistic. The Multnomah County Health Department is keeping a close eye on how lifting the mask mandate could impact case numbers and how a new so-called "stealth" variant could play a role. (KGW)

  2. As Portland continues pacing record homicide rates this year, Mayor Ted Wheeler and other city officials discussed the city’s efforts toward ending gun violence. During a press conference on Thursday, the mayor gave a status report on the work between the city, county, federal and community-based organizations. He was joined by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kirsten Snowden and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell and PPB staff, and community-based partners. (KOIN)

  3. The Portland Clean Energy Fund took another hit on Wednesday as a former grantee filed a defamation lawsuit against the environmental justice program over its decision to rescind a nearly $12 million clean energy grant. Linda Woodley, executive director of the nonprofit Diversify Energy, is suing the city of Portland for damaging her reputation and mishandling the process of withdrawing a Heat Response Program grant she was awarded last year. The grant was intended to pay for the distribution of electric heat pump systems to offer energy-efficient cooling to low-income households and communities of color. (OPB)

  4. Portland City Council voted to accept $17 million in federal grants to help fund four new projects on the east side of the city, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The federal funding is coming from the Regional Flexible Funding Allocation (RFFA) program. According to PBOT, the four projects will bring improvements to Northeast 122nd Avenue, North Willamette Boulevard, Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and on the Southeast Stark/Washington streets corridor. (KATU)

  5. Hit snooze on the alarm more than once this morning? While the grogginess may be attributed to the recent switch in daylight saving time, a new sleep study analyzed CDC data and found nearly a third of all Portland adults are not getting enough shut-eye each night. Although most adults would likely agree they could use a couple of extra minutes of sleep, data from the CDC ‘PLACES: Local Data for Better Health 2021’ report, analyzed in a Hotdog.com study found that just over 30% of adults in Portland are considered to be sleep-deprived by health standards. (KOIN)

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Today in Portland:

  • There's laughs to be found at the 4th Wall in SE Portland at the Everything In Between Comedy Showcase. A femme-focused standup comedy showcase, featuring a lineup of comedians that aren't white dudes. What an idea! 7:00 - 9:00 PM.

  • Don't want the party to end? Not a problem! The weekend of music continues at T.C. O'Learys in NE Portland and their Day After St. Pat's Party. One of their favorite local bands, St. James's Gate, will be presenting a great show of varied original, traditional, rock n' roll and pub standards. 7:00 - 9:00 PM.

  • The Brent Follis Trio will be performing at Vino Veritas in SE Portland. Raised on a farm in Southern Illinois, the first thing Brent Follis can remember is picking up a pair of wooden spoons and tapping out rhythms on some old popcorn tins. After a decade of performing, traveling, and immersing himself deep within the trenches of NYC, he made the sojourn back to the Rose City, where he maintains a busy recording and performance schedule, and can be found backing up many talented singer-songwriters, jazz and pop artists. 7:00 - 9:30 PM.

  • Tonight is the opening party for Fishbowl Gallery’s fourth group show, with drinks, friends, and a live DJ! They are thrilled to be showing new work from three incredible local artists, Lettie Jane Rennekamp, Jack Graydon, and Allie Yacina, along with the art of Los Angeles filmmaker and friend of the gallery, Clay Tatum. 6:30 - 9:00 PM.

  • Soul'd Out presents Lydia Pense & Cold Blood at the Jack London Revue in downtown Portland. During the span of six original late-60’s, early-70’s albums, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood helped, along with Tower Of Power, forge their own specific brand of funk/soul and R&B which came to be know as East Bay Grease. That music still holds up today, proving that great music is timeless and will continue to inspire generations to come. Doors open at 8:00 PM.

From my notebook:

  • The future has come to Portland! Doctor Kelly Blodgett performed dental implants the old school way for 20 years, but now the Portland dentist is using ceramic implants — and says he’s the first in the state to be using a robot to place them. Dr. Blodgett says the Yomi Robot not only cuts down the procedure’s time but also makes everything that much more precise. (KOIN)

  • One of my favorite art galleries here in Portland, Nucleus Portland, has moved to the Alberta Arts District in NE Portland. They're having their first art show in their new location this weekend, the opening reception happening on Saturday from 2:00 to 5:00 PM. It will feature the art of Cat Johnston. I know I'll be checking them out. (Instagram)

  • Portland institution, the Roxy, will be closing this Sunday, after 27 years of doing their part to keep Portland weird. They were one of the few places that was open all night on the weekend. I've definitely ended a few Saturday nights (or should I say Sunday mornings) getting a burger there at 4AM. It's sad to see another piece of "Old Portland" go away. Stop in and check them out before they're gone for good. (Reddit)

  • Titanic had Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Jurassic Park had Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. Home Alone had Macaulay Culkin. But for one videographer, all these movies were missing something important – a four-legged feline lead. That’s right, they needed a cat. Rest assured that Tibo Charroppin is working to change that, with the help of his cat Lizzy. Charroppin is a French-born videographer who lives in Portland, Ore., where he works as a senior video editor for the ACLU. It's also where he creates movie and TV show spoofs with the help of the fluffy black cat who goes by the stage name OwlKitty. (OPB)

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That's your Friday, Portland. Go out there and give it the party treatment it deserves. I'll be back tomorrow to start off your weekend right. Til then, this is Dom the Artist signing off.

Dominic Anaya

About me: Doctor, educator and now a writer/artist, I'm just chillin' in Portland, OR with my wife, our ferrets, our chickens and our goats.

This article originally appeared on the Portland Patch