Thursday in Portland: Multnomah County urges mask wearing amid rise in COVID-19 cases and more

Emily Scarvie
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, May 12 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Multnomah County health officials recommend masking indoors amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Multnomah County is averaging roughly 350 new COVID-19 cases a day and health officials are now urging people to wear masks indoors. While there’s no new mandate in place, health officials are asking people to wear masks indoors until case numbers and hospitalizations drop back down. They’re also recommending that people who are high risk avoid crowded indoor settings for the next few weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shifted Multnomah County from a low to medium COVID-19 community level earlier this month, meaning they recommend that people who are high risk talk to their doctors about wearing a mask. Clackamas and Washington counties are also in the medium risk category.

According to Oregon Health and Sciences University’s latest forecast, the current COVID-19 wave is expected to peak in about a month.

2. Federal judge overturns ban on 'love letters' from prospective home buyers to sellers

On Wednesday, a federal judge overturned a ban implemented by the state legislature last year, meaning Oregon home buyers can still send so-called “love letters” to get the attention of sellers. When prospective buyers want their offer to stand out, they’ll sometimes write a letter explaining why they should be the ones to get the house.

The Oregon legislature banned love letters last year, saying sellers could use the letters or photos to choose a buyer based on race, sex or religion. Pacific Legal Foundation sued the state over the ban, before a federal judge ruled that under the first amendment, the letters would still be allowed.

3. Missing 13-year-old's death ruled a homicide, Beaverton police say

The Beaverton Police Department has confirmed that a missing 13-year-old found dead at Westside Linear Park in Beaverton on Tuesday died as a result of homicide. Milana Li was last seen at her apartment in the Murray Hill area around 4 p.m. on Sunday. She was reported missing by her mother around 1 p.m. on Monday.

Officers responded to the park near Southwest Barrows Road and Horizon Boulevard around 3 p.m. Tuesday, where her body was found in a small stream. In an initial statement, police said the circumstances surrounding her death were “suspicious.”

An autopsy conducted Wednesday indicated that Li died as a result of homicide, but BPD didn’t provide any further details on her cause of death.

“Officers have received dozens of investigative tips from community members and are following up on several leads in this case,” BPD said. “Currently, investigators do not believe there is a continued threat to our community. However, the Beaverton Police Department wants to stress that this is an ongoing criminal investigation.”

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