Have You Heard?

The Summer Solstice Edition

Hey, how have you been? Hopefully, your brief break wasn’t too rough, and if you’re taking the summer off then hopefully your transition into a less academic and more chill mode—if that’s possible nowadays—has been smooth! Alrighty, anyway…

Have you heard about the next round of CARES Act funding coming available soon? Yeah, it’s true! Portland State’s administration is currently working on the particulars, but keep your eyes peeled for a notification soon about the availability of this summer’s round of limited funding. Consider your needs, find your receipts and hopefully soon you’ll be able to apply for this assistance.

Did you notice that COVID-19 cases in Oregon have been spiking? According to news reports and the Oregon Health Authority, the culprit this time is large close-quarters places of employment and personal social networks. This means so many of you just gave up and went out to see friends the first chance you got. For hundreds of Oregonians, this resulted in a COVID-19 infection. Let me make one thing clear; if we all pull together and have patience, your friends will still be there when quarantine is over! And if we can’t pull that off? Well, at least you have memories, right?

Hey, one more thing on that last issue. Have you noticed how utterly nice and warm the weather has been? Well, stop being so wistful. Sure, you can head off to some state and national parks and campgrounds, but honestly, consider this: a few weeks of low to zero attendance means these public gems can heal a bit, and fewer people out there smoking in them means we might avoid another terrible fire season. Remember the Eagle Creek fire? Fewer fireworks and cigarettes carelessly discarded means less fire. Win-win!

Have you noticed an epidemic of fireworks going off these past few weeks? Admittedly, fireworks in summer isn’t out of the ordinary, but given national protests and the COVID-19 crisis, there has been some discussion of the possibility that these aren’t exactly celebratory incendiaries. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has fielded a task force in the New York Police Department that will monitor and assess firework usage throughout the city. Here in Portland, the problem does not seem as acute, but it is a strange thing either way.

Speaking of fireworks and fires, it looks like this year’s forest fire risk is fairly high. The Boise, Idaho National Interagency Fire Center says above average risk began in late June and will continue ramping up. Go read that previous paragraph again: this means you! Stay put, douse fires if you must go camping, don’t flick cigarettes or fireworks into the forest and by no means should you plan to practice your poi stick routine in the middle of the Mount Hood National Forest. You think I’m kidding? A bear I presume to be Smokey was seen in Gresham last month—he’s not messing around and neither should you.

Finally, a quick reminder for those who aren’t fans of the late evening sunshine: we’ll begin losing sunlight hours rapidly super soon. Have hope.