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President Biden in Portland: His plans and the traffic impacts

The president will depart Portland on Saturday afternoon after delivering a speech.

PORTLAND, Ore. — President Joe Biden is stopping in Portland this weekend as part of a three-state West tour ahead of the midterm elections next month. 

The president stopped in Colorado and California before arriving in Oregon Friday to attend a couple events and give a speech in Portland, according to a release from the White House.

This is Biden's second trip to Oregon this year, a state where presidential visits tend to be relatively rare.

Traffic is expected to be heavy around downtown Portland and on the east side as the president's motorcade moves around the city. 

Read on for what we know about his visit.

RELATED: Here's how Biden's visit to Portland impacts TriMet MAX, bus services

What he's doing

In a speech on Saturday at the East Portland Community Center, the president discussed his plan to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. He also talked about the Inflation Reduction Act and lowering prescription drug costs for seniors. The president was joined by Oregon Democratic senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici.

VIDEO: Watch President Biden's speech in Portland

He participated in a grassroots volunteer event with Oregon Democrats on Friday and is attending a reception for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek in Portland on Saturday.

Credit: AP
President Joe Biden works the phones during a grassroots volunteer event with the Oregon Democrats at the SEIU Local 49 in Portland, Ore. Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Biden will meet with older adults who are set to benefit from provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that will go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2023. During his trip to the West Coast, he's expected to sign an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to explore actions it can take to lower prescription drug costs.

RELATED: What does President Biden's visit say about Tina Kotek's campaign for governor?

Why he's here

Democratic officials hope that while in Oregon, Biden can help consolidate the party’s support behind Kotek.

Early voting starts in the state next week and the Democratic party is in danger of losing the governor's race in the traditionally blue state, as Betsy Johnson — a former Republican and Democrat who has since quit both parties — has mounted a well-financed bid against both Kotek and the GOP's pick, Christine Drazan

"You can make the assumption that the reason it's very tight is because Betsy Johnson is a strong candidate in this race," said Jim Moore, a politics professor at Pacific University. "She’s kind of upended the usual calculus we would make of registered Democrats far outnumbering registered republicans and the way unaffiliated voters would vote."  

RELATED: Oregon governor's race could be a toss-up, experts say

When he's arriving and departing

The president arrived at Portland International Airport on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. He'll stay overnight in Portland and will depart Saturday afternoon around 3 p.m.

VIDEO: President Biden walks down steps of Air Force One

KGW live streamed the president's arrival Friday and speech on Saturday at noon. You can watch those videos on the KGW YouTube channel.

Traffic impacts

Portland police have warned traffic will be impacted during the late afternoon hours and evening on Friday and to plan ahead for travel delays. 

Some streets around the downtown area are closed until 6 p.m. on Saturday:

  • Taylor Street and Yamhill Street are closed from Broadway to 4th Avenue. 
  • 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue are closed from Salmon Street to Morrison Street.

TriMet said its service for MAX Blue and Red line riders will be disrupted in downtown Portland through as late as 6 p.m. Saturday. Service for MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines will be disrupted in downtown from noon Friday through 6 p.m. Saturday. TriMet bus service downtown is expected to be disrupted starting around 5 p.m. Friday and bus lines will be detoured as needed.

The MAX Red Line between Portland International Airport and Gateway Transit Center is also expected to see major delays Friday between 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Saturday between 2 to 4 p.m. 

Delays may also occur on the east side during the president's visit as police will have MAX trains, buses and cars stop whenever the president or his motorcade is nearby, TriMet added. 

RELATED: The history of presidential visits in Portland: From Kennedy to Biden

RELATED: How you can ask the candidates for Oregon governor a question during the KGW/Oregonian debate

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