Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Media notices Blumenauer’s rising clout and bike-friendly ideas

Posted by on December 31st, 2007 at 9:39 am

Congressman Blumenauer discussion

Blumenauer (shown here with Sam Adams’ chief
of staff Tom Miller) visited Portland for a bike
issue roundtable in July.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

Former Portland City Commissioner and now U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has garnered major media exposure in recent weeks.

In early December the Oregonian profiled his rising clout on Capitol Hill. The paper called his position on the Ways and Means Committee, “his chance to become a national power player.” (Unfortunately, the tax provisions he championed became collateral damage in the recently passed Energy Bill).

Also in the Oregonian article, a colleague on the committee referred to Blumenauer as, “an up-and-comer”.

Then last Saturday, The Wall Street Journal put Blumenauer on their front page. The article focused on Blumenauer’s interest in and dedication to bicycle issues:

“Some members of Congress come to Washington and get in the fast lane. The 59-year-old Mr. Blumenauer came to Washington and got in the bike lane. Few members of Congress care more than he does about cranks and sprockets.”

Blumenauer’s bikey reputation also seems to be well-known in D.C.:

“‘Bikeman,’ a House colleague from Oregon calls him. Mr. Blumenauer owns seven bikes. His congressional office is one of the few — if not the only one — that didn’t even apply for a parking permit. On occasion, Mr. Blumenauer has cycled to the White House. On Mr. Blumenauer’s first visit, the Secret Service, more accustomed to limousines, was flummoxed at the sight of his bike.”

Blumenauer, along with House colleagues Jim Oberstar (D-Minnesota) and Peter DeFazio (D-Eugene), are the backbone of the 170-member, bi-partisan Congressional Bike Caucus.

Blumenauer visited Portland for a briefing on bike issues back in July and is up for re-election this year.

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  • Qwendolyn December 31, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Random thoughts:

    The Wall Street Journal article alleges that Blumenauer stops at every red light, even if there is no one else around.

    wtg Blumenauer. But also, question:

    how would you prove something like that?

    The answer, of course, is that there is no way.

    As this was the actual news section of the WSJ and not the op-ed page, however, it\’s likely less than 5 percent bunk.

    So, again, wtg blumenauer. Waiting in the rain for the red light to change. If that doesn\’t say \’portland,\’ I don\’t know what does.

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  • Greg Raisman December 31, 2007 at 11:42 am

    WOO HOO! 170 members in the Bike Caucus! That\’s a force to be reckoned with.

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  • peejay January 1, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Earl is too good for his own party leadership, who continue to be in the thrall of one of the most unpopular presidents ever, deferring to his every wish so that the Very Serious People who control our media opinions might think better of them. I hope he hangs around long enough to see his party catch up with the country and start doing what we voted them in to do: act like Democrats!

    Maybe then we\’ll get the bike tax benefit, and I won\’t have to rant so much!

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  • David Feldman January 2, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Really interesting to see the ideological spread within the bike caucus–from progressive Seattle Democrat Jim McDermott to Colorado\’s fundamentalist border Nazi, Tom Tancredo.

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  • Todd B January 2, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Well the bicycle is fundamentally a very libertarian vehicle…if conservatives would return to their \’conservation\’ roots (party of pay as you go/ use and small government)…but as we all know things are not yet so.

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  • Lenny Anderson January 2, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I\’m hoping Earl will show some leadership on the transportation project that will define this region for the next 50 years…the Columbia River Crossing. Will it be business as usual with 40K more motor vehicles crowding Portland\’s streets or will alternatives to driving alone win the day with congestion pricing and expanded transportation options.

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  • Nelson Muntz January 3, 2008 at 9:05 am

    We are getting that huge I-5 bridge whether the bike community likes it or not. The trucking industry and big business ultimately have more clout and they want unfettered highway access to move goods.

    As for congestion pricing in Portland, that is an issue for state and local officials to hash out. Let\’s see if Portland\’s commissioners or local legislators are willing to provoke the ire of drivers. It\’s a decent idea but the blowback would make the Chavez Avenue fight look like a trivial personality squabble.

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  • Lenny Anderson January 3, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    50% of the heavy trucks thru Portland have their origin and destination beyond the I-205 splits. In other words I-5 is still faster than I-205; 90% of the time I-5 runs fine. The big new Columbia Bridge is for commuters and Clark county developers, all at Portlanders\’ expense.
    If you think freight movement drives our economy you are stuck in the 20th, if not the 19th century. Even the President of the Port recognizes that education is more important to economic development than transportation.

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