Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Weekly COVID report shows rise in hospitalizations, high winds cause power outages in Portland

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Jan. 27 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Weekly COVID-19 report shows slight decrease in cases, significant rise in hospitalizations

The Oregon Health Authority released its latest weekly COVID-19 report on Wednesday, showing a 9.5% decrease in new COVID-19 cases compared to the previous week, but a significant rise in hospitalizations. The report covers Jan. 17 through Jan. 23.

OHA’s weekly report showed 638 new COVID-19-related hospitalizations, a 45% increase compared to the previous week, and the highest weekly increase in hospitalizations since the peak of the delta surge last fall. The number of COVID-19-related deaths fell to 59, compared to 83 the previous week. OHA also reported that Oregon had surpassed 6,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday.

“Today Oregon surpassed another heartbreaking milestone – the 6,000th COVID-19-related death,” Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We’ve lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Coworkers and neighbors. These losses pain all of us. These losses also remind us that COVID-19 is still a formidable foe in Oregon, and the heart wrenching impact on our lives is not behind us yet.”

2. High winds knock out power for thousands in Portland

Due to high winds early Thursday, thousands in the Portland area have lost power. Portland General Electric reported nearly 5,000 customers without power around 6:30 a.m., with the largest group of outages in Gresham. At least one outage was the result of a tree on a line, but the majority were caused by high winds.

Pacific Power also reported several customers without power in northeast Portland early Thursday, but all power had been restored in the area by 8 a.m.

3. Mayor Wheeler, city attorney apologize for controversial meme slide in PPB training presentation

On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Attorney Robert Taylor addressed the controversy surrounding a training presentation for Portland police officers. A slide in the presentation includes a meme of an officer hitting a protestor. The city released the image to the public ahead of a hearing surrounding 2020 protests.

“I take responsibility for balancing the competing issues that I had in my mind at the time. If I had that to do over again, I would’ve done it differently, and I accept responsibility for that, and I apologize for that,” Taylor said.

Department of Justice lawyers criticized Portland last week for not sharing the presentation with them before releasing it to the public. The city is currently conducting an internal investigation to determine who created the presentation.

4. Airbnb says new policies blocked parties, disruption in Portland

Airbnb recently released its annual report on company efforts to stop unauthorized parties in Portland and according to the data, the new policies blocked hundreds of potential bookings in the city. Airbnb implemented the “party ban” on its platform in the summer of 2020 in an effort to “prioritize public health in the early days of the pandemic as well as to try to prevent and deter community disruption and parties.”

According to Airbnb, under the new policies, guests under the age of 25 without a positive review history could be restricted from booking “entire home” stays within their neighborhood. This still allowed them to book private room listings, where the host remains on the property.

“Today, we can announce that in 2021, this ‘Under-25’ anti-party system blocked or redirected approximately 1,900 people in Portland from making local entire home bookings,” Airbnb stated.

Airbnb acknowledged that many restricted guests likely didn’t intend to throw a party or be disruptive, but said that for now, “this is a tradeoff we’re willing to make in the interests of trust and safety.”

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