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President Biden will return to Portland this weekend, attend reception for Kotek

On Saturday, Biden will attend a reception for Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek and deliver a speech on "lowering costs for American families."

PORTLAND, Ore. — President Joe Biden will stop in Oregon next weekend as part of a West Coast trip. It will be his second time this year visiting Oregon, a state where presidential visits tend to be relatively rare.

Biden will travel to California from Wednesday, Oct. 12 to Friday, Oct. 14 and then to Oregon from Oct. 14 to Saturday, Oct. 15, according to a Friday morning news release from the White House.

On Monday, the White House released further details about the agenda for Biden's visit, though the timing and location of events was not released:

Friday, Oct. 14

  • Biden travels from Orange County, Calif. to Portland, where he'll participate in a grassroots volunteer effort with the Oregon Democrats

Saturday, Oct. 15

  • Biden will attend a reception for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek in Portland
  • Biden will give a speech in Portland about "lowering costs for American families"

RELATED: Biden puts PDX upgrades at the center of infrastructure speech

The trip will come one week after First Lady Dr. Jill Biden makes her own visit to the Pacific Northwest, stopping at Bates Technical College in Tacoma Friday afternoon and attending a finance event for Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle on Saturday.

President Biden last visited Oregon in April as part of a nationwide tour to promote the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress passed late last year. Oregon is estimated to receive about $1.2 billion for transportation projects over the next five years.

In a speech delivered at a hangar near Portland International Airport, Biden highlighted several ongoing and planned upgrades to the airport as examples of the kind of infrastructure renewal that the new bill would bring.

RELATED: Oregon governor's race candidates debate in Bend ahead of Election Day

Biden's visit next week comes just a few weeks before Americans are set to vote in the Nov. 8 midterm elections. 

The typically deep-blue Oregon has emerged as a surprisingly competitive state this year, due in part to its three-way race for governor, where recent polls have showed Republican Christine Drazan with a narrow lead over Democrat Tina Kotek.

Oregon also has some competitive House races this year, with Democrat Andrea Salinas and Republican Mike Erickson facing off in Oregon's newly-created 6th Congressional District and Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer battling it out in the state's 5th District after McLeod-Skinner ousted Democratic incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in the May primary.

KGW political analyst Len Bergstein speculated that those races could be part of the reason for Biden's visit, which comes at a time in the election cycle when it's more common for presidents to make appearances in swing states like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.

"I can understand why it makes sense for him to be here, it’s just unusual for Oregonians to think ‘gee, we’re a battleground here? … enough so that we catch the attention of the President of the United States to come in and campaign for Democrats?’" he said. "So it’s an indication that Oregon politics are a little bit uneasy and volatile right at this point."

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

The last time Oregon saw two presidential visits in one year was in 2015, when President Barack Obama visited Nike headquarters in May and then returned to Oregon in October of that year after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.

There have been several other times when a president has made back-to-back Oregon stops in a single year, according to Oregon Historical Society executive director Kerry Tymchuk. 

In one prominent example, President Bill Clinton visited twice in 1996, first as part of a tour of the region after that year's historic flood, as covered by The New York Times, and then later in the year during his re-election campaign, as covered by CNN and the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

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