Axios Portland

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It's Wednesday. We have nothing clever to say other than to remind you to wear sunscreen.

🌤️ Today's weather: Sunny with clouds moving in tonight. High 79, low 51.

😌 Sounds like: "What a Difference a Day Makes" by Dinah Washington.

Today's newsletter is 870 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: 🗳️ The fight for OR-3

Illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Courtesy of Susheela Jayapal, Maxine Dexter and Eddy Morales

With Rep. Earl Blumenauer set to retire after roughly 30 years in office, the Democrat's seat in Congress is up for grabs — and three frontrunners are locked in a tight race for what's considered one of the most progressive districts in the state.

Why it matters: Oregon's 3rd Congressional District is in solid Democratic territory — encompassing most of Multnomah, all of Hood and part of Clackamas counties — so whoever nabs the nomination in the Democratic primary next week will likely ride the wave all the way to Washington, D.C.

Catch-up quick: Seven Democrats and three Republicans are on the ballot, but only state Rep. Maxine Dexter, Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales and former Multnomah County commissioner Susheela Jayapal have raised a significant amount of money, according to the Federal Election Commission.

  • Dexter, a physician who has represented Portland in the Oregon House since 2021, has raised nearly $1 million.
  • Her two opponents have criticized her campaign for alleged outside spending and contributions from a pro-Israel lobbying group.

Context: Jayapal was the first Democrat to enter the race back in November after resigning from the position she had held since 2019 as a commissioner for Oregon's largest county. In that role, she advocated for eviction protection during the pandemic and created the Housing Connector program.

  • Morales, who was elected to the Gresham City Council in 2018, has worked in behind-the-scenes political advocacy here and in D.C. for decades.
  • Dexter said her experience as a doctor influenced her work to expand naloxone access into more public buildings, and, as the former chair of the Housing and Homelessness Committee, to pass several bills aimed at building more affordable housing.

What they're saying: Dexter told Axios in an emailed statement that she would fight to build more public housing, secure funds for "innovative approaches like modular housing" and increase federal rental assistance if elected to Congress.

  • Jayapal and Morales did not respond to multiple calls and email requests for comment from Axios, though both have noted their priorities regarding curbing the state's housing affordability crisis on their websites.

Go deeper

2. 🎸 Summer concerts at Edgefield

Debbie Harry of Blondie is part of McMenamins Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn this summer. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

McMenamins has released the names of bands that will play at its Edgefield property this summer.

Why it matters: Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn are some of the best nights of music you can have in the Pacific Northwest.

What to expect: The venue, located 15 miles east of downtown Portland, includes a hotel, but most people are happy to park on the giant grassy field.

Pro tip: Don't lose your car keys in the dark.

Here's the rundown:

See more bands

3. Rose City Rundown

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💰 Following a three-night occupation by pro-Palestinian protestors, Portland State University officials estimate it will cost $750,000 to repair damage to Millar Library — give or take $125,000. (The Oregonian)

After a series of in-custody deaths last year, and a staff exodus, the health director of Multnomah County Corrections, Myque Obiero resigned, effective immediately. (Willamette Week)

😬 Over 12,000 Oregonians may be eligible for up to thousands of dollars in refunds after a TurboTax error made many pay more than they owed — it may take up to six months to get the money back, though. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

4. 🦠 New COVID-19 variants emerging

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

To most Americans, COVID-19 now ranks with everyday risks. But the emergence of new variants called FLiRT is a fresh reminder the coronavirus is still evolving, even with hospitalizations at record lows.

State of play: A new variant, KP.2, accounts for a quarter of U.S. cases and just overtook JN.1 as the dominant strain, while a sister variant, KP.1.1, is also rising and represents 7.1% of cases as of last night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • The variants don't appear to cause different or more serious symptoms. They're descended from Omicron and have mutations in the spike protein that make them more easily transmitted.

Threat level: The latest wastewater samples in Portland suggest a sustained increase in the community presence of COVID-19.

Sponsored event listings

📅 Future events

Start planning your days ahead.

Yoga for Energy & Relaxation at Sunroom Studio on June 15th:

This workshop uses a fusion of yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques to help you combat pressures that often lead to burnout and exhaustion. $50.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. 🖌️ Art Snack: Splatterfest

"Tom Cramer's Studio 1," by photographer Heléna Dupre Thompson. Photo courtesy of Heléna Dupre Thompson

Photographer Heléna Dupre Thompson is known for her close-up shots of Portland's worn and battered surfaces: multicolored paint smears on a concrete skate park or tattered layers of band posters on a light pole.

🎨 The latest: For her new show "Detritivore," she photographed the paint drips and work surfaces of several Portland artists' studios.

Zoom in: For this piece, "Tom Cramer's Studio 1," she zoomed in on an unspecified place where the paint drips from Cramer's brush as he works. It has the candy-colored freedom of classic Jackson Pollock, without the effort.

Her process

🕺🏻 Meira is excited to see Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service with all the other over-30 hipsters tonight at Moda Center.

🌵 Joseph is clambering over the cactuses that are wintering in the garage, looking for the low-backed chairs. It's summer.

Editor's note: Monday's story on public access to Narcan was corrected to remove a reference to a limit on the number of overdose response kits that organizations can obtain from Save Lives Oregon.

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Caitlin Wolper and Anjelica Tan.