๐Ÿค  What's up, Wednesday? We're moving and grooving through the week.

Today's weather: Showers and breezy. High 52, low 41.

Today's newsletter is 815 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: ๐Ÿ“– Pushing back on book bans

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A bill aimed at preventing book bans is expected to receive a vote in the Oregon Senate, the latest effort to push back against conservatives' attempts to protest titles involving LGBTQ+ themes in classrooms and school libraries.

Why it matters: The proposal in the Legislature follows a nationwide wave of attempts from the political right to limit what kids can read โ€” often targeting works written by or about LGBTQ+ people and people of color, Axios Seattle's Melissa Santos reports.

By the numbers: Across the country, attempts to ban books from schools reached a record high in 2022, and at least 93 individual titles were challenged in Oregon just last year, according to State Library of Oregon data.

The big picture: California and Illinois have already passed laws to try to limit book bans, according to the American Library Association's tracker of "right-to-read" legislation.

  • More than a dozen other states, including Washington, are considering similar measures.

Details: Under the Oregon proposal, school administrators would be prevented from banning textbooks and library books on the basis that they are written by or include stories of people protected by the state's anti-discrimination law.

  • This includes people of color, LGBTQ+ identities and those with disabilities.
  • SB 1583, introduced by Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland), has received more public testimony than any other proposal lawmakers are considering in this year's short legislative session.

What they're saying: More than 1,000 wrote in or testified to support the bill, largely due to advocacy by librarians, civil rights organizations, teacher groups and the Oregon Education Association.

  • "Students have a First Amendment right to read and learn about the history and viewpoints of all communities โ€” including their own identities โ€” inside and outside of the classroom," Jessica Maravilla, policy director at ACLU of Oregon, told Axios via email.

The other side: Many who opposed the measure wrote in with concerns about sexually explicit materials, arguing schools should not be where children learn about gender identities.

What's next

2. ๐ŸŽจ 5 young Black Portland artists to watch

Intisar Abioto at the Black Artists of Oregon show she curated. Photo: Courtesy of Portland Art Museum

Intisar Abiato curated the groundbreaking show Black Artists of Oregon, featuring 100 years of art that was often overlooked by galleries and collectors.

๐ŸŽจ We asked her for five young Black Portland artists to watch.

Maya Vivas is a multidisciplinary artist who incorporates ceramics into performances, such as the piece "Soft Between the Elbows" where they manipulate a 3-foot-tall lump of clay while dancing.

manuel arturo abreu is also known for a complex multidisciplinary approach. For "Untitled (Herramienta)," abreu showered next to a nylon painting for six months to stain it, then placed a video screen behind it.

  • It is a work about "Afro Diasporic domestic aesthetics, with reference to electric-powered religious art," abreu wrote.

Sidony O'Neal recreated their piece "Interim" for the show. A bathtub, partially filled with resin and toy sheep, is part of an inquiry into "histories and philosophies of translation, mathematics and computing."

What Abioto is saying: "In the African diaspora, art practices are already interdisciplinary," she told Axios. "The music goes with the art, with the textiles, it's a way of thinking about forms."

  • "For folks in the African diaspora there's a choice of refusal, of not having to explain into understanding," said Abioto.

Where it's happening: The show runs through March 31 at the Portland Art Museum.

Two more artists

3. Rose City Rundown

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

๐ŸŽฉ Former Mayor Sam Adams is reportedly eyeing another run for office โ€” this time for a seat on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. (Willamette Week)

๐Ÿ”Œ The electric vehicle rebate program, which aims to encourage residents to transition from gas-powered vehicles, is poised to return later this year. It was briefly suspended because it ran out of funds due to its overwhelming popularity. (OPB)

Celebrated chef Lauro Romero of Repรบblica, Clandestino and the Ritz-Carlton's Bellpine died last Friday. He was 42. (Portland Monthly)

4. Fentanyl overdose rate in Oregon spikes

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Oregon's fatal fentanyl overdose rate spiked from 2019 to 2023, showing the highest rate of increase among U.S. states, according to The Oregonian's crunching of new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Details: Oregon had 1,268 fentanyl deaths between September 2019 and September 2023.

  • That's compared to just 77 in the 12 months ending September 2019.

Yes, but: Despite that high rate of increase, Oregon is 17th in the nation for fentanyl deaths, The Oregonian reports.

  • That's up from 36th in 2019, out of the 38 states and Washington, D.C., reporting.

What we're watching: Officials from Oregon, Portland and Multnomah County declared a 90-day fentanyl emergency on Jan. 30 in central Portland designed to target drug sellers and users.

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5. ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ 1 chart to go: Oregon LGBTQ+ populace

Share of adults who identify as LGBT
Data:ย UCLA Law's Williams Institute;ย Chart: Axios Visuals

Nearly 8% of adults in Oregon identify as LGBTQ+, according to new estimates from UCLA Law's Williams Institute, a think tank focused on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

  • That means Oregon only trails Washington, D.C., on that score, where 14.3% of its adults so identify.

No wonder why we need June and July to celebrate Pride.

๐Ÿ‘๏ธ Meira is hoping magnesium will help rein in a chronic eye twitch she developed from a recent bout of insomnia.

๐Ÿง Joseph was standing when he wrote this (forgive him if it goes astray).

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Steven Patrick and Anjelica Tan.