President Joe Biden touched down in Oregon Friday evening for his second visit of the year.
He’s here to tout prescription drug price relief for seniors, raise money for Democratic candidate for governor Tina Kotek and try to ignite the Democratic base in the Portland area as Oregon Democrats face tough races for governor, Congress and the statehouse.
Ballots will begin arriving at Oregon voters’ homes in less than a week.
Air Force One, with Biden aboard, landed on a Portland tarmac at 6:13 p.m. A black limousine waited to whisk him to his next event, a phone-banking and sign-making event with state employee union members and three Democratic members of Congress.
After deboarding, the president waved once to the crowd and greeted people including U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. The president also carried a white baf from which he pulled a cupcake and presented it to U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, whose birthday is Friday. Biden climbed into the limo and was on his way to Southeast Portland at 6:32 p.m.
Police and transportation officials have cautioned that his visit will cause some road closures, TriMet line disruptions and other inconveniences designed to keep the president safe.
Portland marks the final stop on the president’s three-state visit to the West. In Colorado on Wednesday, he designated the first national monument of his administration and called for protecting “treasured lands” that tell the story of America. In Southern California, he touted infrastructure investments on Thursday and played up his administration’s efforts to tame inflation and help Americans afford their bills on Friday, much like he is expected to do in Portland at midday Saturday, including playing up an executive order meant to lower prescription drug costs that his administration announced Friday.
President Joe Biden arrives in Portland on Air Force One
The White House said that at the president’s only public appearance in Portland on Saturday, the first day of open enrollment for Medicare, he will “highlight the historic cost-saving provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that will be reflected in Medicare plans seniors will shop for.”
Biden is unpopular with many moderates and some Democrats, although his national approval ratings have rebounded to 43% from their low point in late July. That makes it tricky for him to turn campaign appearances into gold for his party ahead of what could be dicey midterm elections for Democrats.
Oregon’s two Democrats in the tightest races for Congress, emergency response manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the 5th District and lawmaker Andrea Salinas in the 6th, didn’t recruit Biden to appear with them in their swing districts.
Biden’s public and private appearances on this trip are all in Multnomah County, where he outpolled President Trump 79% to 18% in 2020.
Biden’s first visit to Oregon since becoming president came in April, when he appeared at Portland International Airport and gave a 30-minute speech touting hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars’ worth of infrastructure improvements for Oregon.
Oregonian photojournalist Dave Killen contributed reporting. This is a breaking story and will be updated.
– Betsy Hammond; email@example.com; @OregonPolEds