๐Ÿชฉ Welcome back, it's Tuesday. And 2024, if you haven't looked at a calendar.

Today's weather: Showers likely. High near 43.

๐Ÿฆโ€โฌ› Sounds like: "The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie

๐Ÿฅณ We missed shouting out some of our members' birthdays during our break. We hope you each had a wonderful time celebrating! We're grateful for your support.

Today's newsletter is 925 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Key Portland issues to watch this year

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Out with the old, in with the new!

What's happening: Here's a short list of key events and trends we expect to affect Portlanders in 2024.

Why it matters: Anticipating developments ahead of time can help you stay on top of the context and impact of current local issues.

Here's our short list:

โ˜‘๏ธ Portland elections: Three people are officially running for mayor so far โ€”ย plus 38 candidates across four new voting districts are competing for the 12 seats on Portland's expanding city council.

  • Most council candidates are not well-known public figures โ€” understanding who they are and how they might govern will be a big story all year.
  • While there's no primary โ€” this election is not until November โ€” Portland's new city management structure takes effect in July.
  • A city manager โ€” Portland's first โ€” could also be hired sometime this year.

โš–๏ธ Multnomah County elections: The hot fight on the local May 21 ballot will be for district attorney, with incumbent Mike Schmidt facing a challenge from within his office from senior deputy DA Nathan Vasquez.

โœ๏ธ The search for a new school superintendent: Two weeks after Portland Public Schools teachers settled their first-ever strike, Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero announced he is leaving in February.

  • The new district leader will play a key role in setting local priorities โ€” and pushing lawmakers to revamp state education funding.
  • The school board plans to appoint an interim superintendent before Guerrero's departure, with a permanent hire by June.

Three more

2. Rose City Rundown

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿป The Oregon Court of Appeals temporarily stalled Multnomah County's flavored tobacco ban from going into effect yesterday, allowing tobacco companies time to appeal a decision made earlier by a circuit court. (Willamette Week)

๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ Eugene Weekly suspended its daily print service and laid off all of its employees as it investigates claims that an employee siphoned up to $100,000 in funds meant to pay vendors and utilities. (OPB)

๐Ÿˆ The Oregon Ducks demolished the Liberty Flames in the Fiesta Bowl yesterday, with quarterback Bo Nix breaking several NCAA records in his final collegiate start of his career. (CBS)

3. Three great winter hikes close to Portland

A view from Cape Horn on a sunny January day. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

Oregon's snow season is starting slowly this year, but the warmer winter so far means it's a great time to get out and hike.

These three hikes โ€” all about an hour's drive or less from Portland โ€” are among our particular favorites this time of year.

  • Always โ€” but especially in winter โ€” be prepared for changes in the weather when you're heading outside.

Cape Horn

About a half-hour drive east of Vancouver on the Washington side of the Columbia River, this 7.2-mile hike is challenging and dramatic.

  • The loop trail climbs 1,300 feet for great views of the gorge, then drops close to the river, rolling over rocky terrain past waterfalls and more views.

Pro tip: The lower section of the loop is closed from February to July for bird nesting season.

  • Out-and-back is also a fantastic hike.

Old Salmon River Trail

Flat and kid-friendly, this Mount Hood hike wanders through tall evergreens and runs next to a cold and rushing river.

There are several trail access points, starting about 2.5 miles past Welches.

  • Waterproof boots are handy on this jaunt โ€” the trail can get very muddy and there are a couple of small streams to cross.

The Wilson River trail

Pick your own path on this 24-mile trail โ€” shared with mountain bikers โ€” along the Wilson River in the Tillamook State Forest west of Portland.

More on this trail

4. A psychic's prediction for Portland this year

We went to Psychic Sister in search of answers. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

Every new year comes with a lot of unknowns, but we reached out to someone who may be able to help.

Driving the news: We went to Psychic Sister to see LC Collins of Vivid Life Tarot who gave us her reading of what's coming for Portland in 2024.

  • We asked Collins for her predictions on the city's new government structure, the next mayor, and how Portlanders can bond amid change.

Here are the highlights:

๐Ÿ”ฎ What to expect: Collins said 2020 was the year Portland found its voice, but 2024 will be the year it will have to "walk its talk."

  • "Portland has the opportunity to become the 10 of cups," Collins said of the first tarot card pulled, which depicts fortune and unity.

๐Ÿ›๏ธ On the new government structure: Portlanders will elect 12 new city council members this November, and the council will be full of first-time politicians with "a lot of synergy," Collins predicts

  • "As long as they don't make coalitions over fear, no fear bonding," she said. "Let's not turn our backs on this experiment."

On the next mayor

A new career is waiting for you

๐Ÿ’ผ Check out who's hiring now.

  1. Event Production Manager at Portland Trail Blazers @ the Rose Quarter.
  2. Communication and Outreach Manager at Oregon State University.
  3. District Manager at Ace Hardware Corporation.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. Where's Emily ... headed?

Emily is leaving Axios Portland to explore new trails. Photo: Courtesy of Collin Oldham

๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ Emily here. I'm sad to say this is my last Axios Portland newsletter โ€” at least for a while.

  • I'm heading off to finish a master's degree in conflict resolution and help get a nonprofit I co-founded off the ground.

๐ŸŒบ Thank you all so much for helping us build Axios Portland. I've enjoyed and appreciated your comments and questions, restaurant tips and story ideas โ€”ย and, of course, your tolerance for my terrible haikus.

Here's one last bad poem:

Telling stories of

This town I love

Is so much fun.

Now I'm off for a run.

Stay tuned to meet our new Portland team member joining next week.

๐Ÿ’– Meira is excited about Emily's next chapter but will miss her as a colleague dearly.

๐ŸŒŠ Emily is likewise grateful โ€” and is heading to the coast for a few days' break between things.

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