Notable presidential visits throughout Oregon’s history

PORTLAND, OR (KOIN) – After a six-and-a-half-year gap between presidential visits to Oregon in 2015 and 2022, President Joe Biden is visiting Portland for the second time in less than six months.

Biden visited Portland for the first time as sitting president in April this year to talk about infrastructure and raise funds for the Democratic Party. On Friday, the president returns for a second multi-day visit to attend an event for Democrats to speak about lowering health care and drug costs in the United States.

In response to this moment in Portland’s history, KOIN 6 News has compiled a list of notable presidential visits to Beaver State, documented by the University of California, Santa Barbara USA Presidency Project and others. news and historical publications.

Rutherford B. Hayes – 1880

According to Oregon EncyclopediaRutherford B. Hayes became the first active American president to visit the state of Oregon in the fall of 1880, a year after the The light bulb was invented. The trip was part of Hayes’ tour of western states in an effort to reach citizens who would have felt disenfranchised from Washington, DC.

President Rutherford B. Hayes. | White House

Franklin D. Roosevelt – 1937

According to the draft of the American presidency, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the Portland area on September 28, 1937 to celebrate the near completion of Bonneville Dam and visit the newly built forest lodge.

Looking from the side of Timberline Lodge towards the center of the building. The entrance area and the restaurant window are visible. The Lodge is a National Historic Landmark. It’s on Mount Hood located in northwestern Oregon (Courtesy of Getty Images).

“Those who follow us to Timberline Lodge on their vacations will represent the joy of new play opportunities every season of the year,” Roosevelt said that day. “I specifically mention every season of the year because we, as a nation, I think, are coming to realize that summer isn’t the only time to play.”

Harry S. Truman – 1948

On June 11, 1948, President Harry S. Truman drove through Oregon on a whirlwind campaign. The Oregonian reports that Truman set an Oregon record that day for the most presidential campaign visits in one day. Truman started his day with a speech in Portland, where he spoke following the Vanport Flood, which completely destroyed the ancient city of Oregon. Traveling by train, the president gave speeches in Salem, Albany, Eugene, Oakridge and Klamath Falls. Despite his record campaign effort, Oregon voted for Truman’s opponent in the 1948 election, Republican presidential candidate and New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey.

“It’s a terrible disaster” Truman said of the Vanport flood on June 11. “And I sympathize with the attempt to deal with this disaster. I have ordered all federal government agencies to cooperate with the Red Cross and the State of Oregon, as well as the City of Portland, to best deal with the situation.

John F. Kennedy – 1963

Two months before his assassination in Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech at Tongue Point, Astoria on September 27, 1963, announcing that the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard planned to build bases there. The speech was recorded and is available to listen through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website.

John F Kennedy
In this Jan. 2, 1960, file photo, Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass., officially announces at a news conference in Washington that he is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination (AP Photo, File ).

Jimmy Carter – 1980

On May 22, 1980, four days after Mount St. Helens erupted, President Jimmy Carter visited Portland to hold a question-and-answer session with journalists after carrying out an inspection tour of the damage caused by the volcanic eruption.

“My overwhelming feeling as president is to congratulate the people of the northwestern region of our country for the tremendous courage and presence of mind they have shown here and the cooperation among people to make in the face of one of the most remarkable and formidable phenomena, I suppose, of all time on record,” Carter said that day. future are one of the most important factors in minimizing potentially catastrophic damage.”

Mount St. Helens (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

George H. W. Bush – 1990s

During several visits to Portland in the 1990s, President George H. W. Bush encountered backlash from Portlanders protesting the Gulf War. The famous, well-documented protests notably captured in Chuck Palahniuk’s book “Fugitives and Refugees”, involving ritual fires, colorful costumes and, according to Palahniuk’s book, red, white, and blue vomiting.

The Willamette Week reports that the protests were so notable that they led a member of George HW Bush’s administration to nickname Portland “Little Beirut” after Lebanon’s war-torn capital.

February 11, 1991, file photo. President George HW Bush speaks to reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House after meeting with top military advisers to discuss the Persian Gulf War. | (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File).

Bill Clinton – 1996

On February 14, 1996, President Bill Clinton visited Portland in response to the 1996 Willamette Valley Flood. The flood reportedly caused millions of dollars in damage and affected countless lives.

“It can never be obscured,” Clinton said. “Roads, homes, businesses, power lines that have been washed away by mudslides, avalanches and washouts, there are many of them.”

Barack Obama – 2015

A week after the murder Shooting at Umpqua Community College which claimed the lives of eight students and a professor on October 1, 2015, President Barack Obama traveled to Roseburg to meet privately with the families of the victims. Hours after the shooting, the president addressed the nation during his 15th White House press briefing regarding the mass shootings.

Barack Obama_210830
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, past Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh).

“Somehow it has become routine,” the president said during his speech. “The United States of America is the only advanced country on Earth where we don’t have common sense when it comes to gun safety laws.”

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