PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The last time President Joe Biden was in Portland he mostly stayed at PDX. But not this visit, which began when Air Force One touched down around 6 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday he kicked off his public schedule at an event to talk about reducing the cost of health care and prescription drugs for Americans.
The new federal law caps seniors’ out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses at $2,000 per year. In addition, the act also sets a $35 monthly cap on insulin, allowing more Medicare recipients to purchase their medication at a low cost.
Friday, the president also signed an Executive Order on lowering prescription drug costs and participated in a grassroots volunteer event with Oregon Democrats.
Then early Saturday afternoon, Biden spoke to a packed gymnasium at the East Portland Community Center about reducing costs for Americans. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined Biden at the event along with many invited labor union members.
The president worked to convince voters they are better off voting for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
He also mentioned his support for universal pre-school. Earlier this fall, tuition-free pre-school for Multnomah County 3- and 4-year-olds got underway.
When he was done talking he waded into the crowd for several minutes, shaking hands, taking selfies and talking with Oregon voters in an effort to earn their votes.
A presidential motorcade through your neighborhood doesn’t happen every day. His motorcade went through Northeast Portland Saturday afternoon with a helicopter circling overhead and Portland police blocking traffic.
Paulette Rossi, who lives nearby, walked to a corner to get a glimpse of the commander-in-chief.
“I came because he’s the President of the United States and he’s in my neighborhood. So I had to come,” Rossi told KOIN 6 News. “The president waved in my direction. So exciting!”
It’s not the first time she’s seen a president in the Rose City. She remembers when her mom took her to see President Lyndon Johnson’s motorcade in the 1960s. And she also saw Biden when Air Force One flew overhead earlier this year.
“When he came last time, his plane went over my house,” she said. “A nice high for my day.”
President Biden made the trip to Oregon ahead of the midterm elections. Experts speculate part of the reason for the trip was to shore up support for candidates, including the Democratic candidate for governor, Tina Kotek.
Other Portlanders got a sweet surprise from Biden’s visit: He carried a box of Sesame Donuts with him at one point.
The owners of Sesame Donuts saw him with the box on the news.
“Oh my God, this is true! I showed all of my employees,” the owner of Sesame Donuts said. “Portland is a city of donuts. So for him to choose our donuts, we feel like our hard work has paid off. The president is eating our donuts!”
Before Biden left Portland, he and Kotek stopped at a local Baskin Robbins for some ice cream on their way to PDX, where he will board Air Force One and fly to Delaware for the weekend.