PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you haven’t heard, President Joe Biden is arriving in Portland on Friday, and local government agencies are warning that getting around the area could be an absolute nightmare thanks to road closures and impacted public transportation.
Biden’s communications team announced that the president will fly into Portland International Airport aboard Air Force One in the late afternoon or evening hours. The president’s exact arrival time is unclear, but it’s scheduled to be sometime after he delivers a speech on “lowering costs for American families” in Irvine, Calif. at 3:10 p.m.
On Friday, Biden is expected to participate in a “grassroots volunteer event” with the Oregon Democrats. Biden will reportedly remain in Portland through Saturday to speak about lowering health care and drug costs for Americans at an event at a Portland community center, where he will be joined by senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.
The Portland Police Bureau has stated that, for security reasons, the exact road closures caused by the president’s visit are not being disclosed at this time. However, officials say the visit is expected to impact major freeways, roads around Portland International Airport and street traffic in Southeast, Northeast and Downtown Portland. More information will be made available as the president arrives and begins to move throughout the city.
Just after 5:45 p.m., authorities said Southwest Broadway to Southwest 4th Avenue and SW Morrison to Salmon Street will be closed. PPB noted the closure will affect bicycle, transit and pedestrian traffic.
According to PPB, most road closures will last around 30 minutes.
“The time window that will have the broadest impact is expected to be late afternoon Friday to early afternoon on Saturday,” PPB said. “We understand the impacts on commuters, businesses, and people frequenting the City of Portland and appreciate patience and understanding during a presidential visit.”
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is asking commuters to work from home during this time, if possible, or to ride a bicycle to work to avoid traffic and transit delays.
“At times, some streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes will be closed,” PPB stated. “Transit and Streetcar lines may be affected. Most large-scale impacts, such as closures of major freeways and arterials, are expected to be short in duration, likely not exceeding 30 minutes. However, in Downtown Portland, some roads and transit lines will be closed early in the morning in preparation for the president’s arrival and will remain closed until after departure.”
TriMet is also asking riders to plan ahead in anticipation of “major delays” and disruptions — especially in Downtown Portland as the President’s motorcade moves from one location to the next. Per police instructions, all MAX lines and some bus lines will be disrupted Downtown from 6 a.m. Friday through as late as 6 p.m. Saturday. The MAX Red Line will also suffer major delays in and out of PDX when the President comes and goes.
Meanwhile, barricades were placed near Southwest 6th and Yamhill in downtown Portland on Thursday night, essentially closing off Pioneer Square.
PPB says that it has increased staffing to accommodate the president’s visit. Local precincts will reportedly remain staffed to respond to emergencies. However, delays will be possible.
“There may be increased delays in response to non-emergency calls, and we appreciate the patience of our community,” PPB said.
Businesses in the area tell KOIN 6 News the expected security measures are impacting operations, with one restaurant worker saying reservations were canceled on Friday. However, that person said was still excited for the president’s visit, saying he hopes he’ll stop by.
Joelle Jones contributed to this report.