PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the first time in nearly seven years, a sitting U.S President will visit Portland as the White House confirms President Joe Biden will visit the area on Thursday.
In what will be another event promoting what the White House calls the “unprecedented” bipartisan infrastructure bill, the President will also go to Seattle to speak about growing the renewable energy on Earth Day that Friday.
Biden has highlighted the I-5 Bridge between Portland and Vancouver, WA several times in promoting the $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure plan.
“I’m excited to hear he’s coming here to talk about infrastructure because it’s a huge issue in Portland,” Eliza Larson said. “Especially with the I-5 bridge and all the tension between the Washington suburbs and Portland over what we want and it’s not always the same.”
Larson, a resident of Northeast Portland, said she would love for whatever replacement to the bridge comes, to have bike options.
“We would use that for recreation purposes too not just commute purposes,” Larson said.
“I think it needs to be a healthy compromise with everyone but we need more mass transit and more bike transit,” Larson continued. “I would love to use mass transit more if it were more convenient and easier, and safer.”
The last time a sitting president visited Oregon was President Barak Obama in May 2014, at an event at Nike.
The last time Biden was in Oregon, he was chasing money at a fundraiser during the campaign in 2019.
Before that, he made an impromptu visit to the original Salt and Straw in Northeast Portland. Shelley Larkins remembers the motorcade shutting down Alberta Street.
“He created a lot of traffic but it was worth it to know he was in our neighborhood,” she said.
Larkins is an unabashed Biden supporter, saying she loves him for a few reasons, including ice cream and public transit.
“Joe loves trains and I love Trains and I say spend as much money on trains as you can.” Larkins said.
The White House has only announced that the President will be in Portland on Thursday, no other details have been announced. Typically, details of presidential events are held until a day or two before. KOIN 6 News will share more information once available.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was passed in November 2021, has nearly $200 million set aside for federally funded infrastructure projects in Oregon.
Among the expected projects is the Interstate 5 Bridge, which has connected Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington since 1917 before the interstate existed.