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Politics & Government

President Biden lands in Portland to talk about infrastructure and help with fundraising

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Kristyna Wentz-Graff
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OPB
Pres. Joe Biden departs Air Force 1 at Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Biden will attempt to sell voters on the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package he signed into law in November. He’ll also talk to private donors.

President Joe Biden is visiting Portland for the first time during his presidency on Thursday, in a brief stop aimed at helping his party’s chances in this year’s elections.

Air Force One landed at 12:41 p.m. Biden plans to give public remarks at about 2:10 p.m.

Biden’s live remarks will be livestreamed here:


Air Force One landed at 12:41 p.m. Biden plans to give public remarks at about 2:10 p.m.

Whether Biden plans to make any other stops in Portland is unclear. Air Force One is expected to depart at about 4:30 p.m.

In his public remarks at PDX, Biden will attempt to sell voters on the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package he signed into law in November. Democrats are pushing the legislation as a signature achievement, at a time they’ve struggled to move other priorities past a tightly divided Senate.

Afterward, he will also appear at around 3:30 p.m. a fundraiser for Democrats at the Portland Yacht Club on the Columbia River. As Willamette Week first reported, the fundraiser for the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund offered varying levels of access to Biden, with tickets ranging from $500 to $36,500. All tickets were sold out as of Wednesday afternoon.

At Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2022, Pres. Joe Biden met with some of Oregon's congressional delegation. Pictured from left to right with Biden center: Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Kurt Schrader.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff /
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At Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2022, Pres. Joe Biden met with some of Oregon's congressional delegation. Pictured from left to right with Biden center: Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Kurt Schrader.


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday Biden planned to speak in Portland about investments like an earthquake-resistant runway and improvements that “help lower costs on everyday items by ensuring goods can move faster and more efficiently.”

The president will be joined at the airport by U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Gov. Kate Brown, and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, Psaki said. The appearance could be a political gift to Schrader, a centrist who faces a competitive primary challenge from the left this year in a newly redrawn congressional district.

The president is midway through a bicoastal mini-tour to tout investments made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year. On Tuesday, he visited Portsmouth, N.H., praising future spending on a local port and other projects, and making sure to credit the state’s congressional Democrats with helping pass the bill.

“The last fella who had this job kept talking about ‘infrastructure week’ for four years,” Biden said at the event, referring to former President Donald Trump. “We have infrastructure decade.”

Biden is likely to highlight his administration’s talking points detailing nearly 400 bridges and 1,300 miles of highway in Oregon considered to be in poor condition and bemoaning longer commute times.

Oregon transportation officials have said the infrastructure bill will send an extra $1.2 billion to the state over five years. Roughly a third of that money came in the form of flexible funds, and in late March the Oregon Transportation Commission voted on a plan to spend that money. The plan includes $50 million for highway projects, $80 million for safety enhancements on main streets and routes to school, $75 million for maintenance projects and $40 million to bolster the Oregon Department of Transportation’s budget, among other things.

Watch live: President Biden Delivers Remarks on Building a Better America

Biden was initially scheduled to attend a Democratic fundraiser in Southwest Portland following his remarks, at the Dunthorpe home of Win McCormack, owner of The New Republic. That event was relocated due to concerns about capacity, Willamette Week first reported.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown greets Pres. Joe Biden when he arrived at Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2022.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff /
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown greets Pres. Joe Biden when he arrived at Portland International Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2022.


While Thursday marks Biden’s first visit to Portland since he became president, he’s campaigned in the city before. In 2019, McCormack played host to Biden when the candidate was mounting a bid for president.

And in 2014, Biden came to town to campaign for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s re-election, making a memorable stop at Salt & Straw, an artisanal ice cream shop in the city’s Alberta Arts District.

Thursday’s presidential ice cream itinerary, if one exists, had not been released as of Wednesday afternoon.

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