Bell lap for Blumenauer: 2024 will be his last year in Congress

Blumenauer biking on Pennsylvania Avenue on his way to speak at the 2008 National Bike Summit. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

In bike racing parlance, “bell lap” is the final lap of a race. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been in the race for nearly 50 years and 2024 will be his last time around the course.

14 months from now Earl Blumenauer will no longer represent Portland on Capitol Hill. The Democrat who represents Oregon’s third congressional district announced Monday we will not seek reelection next year.

Blumenauer has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 27 years. Before that, he was the City of Portland’s transportation commissioner where he presided over the creation of Portland’s first Bicycle Master Plan.

For nearly three decades, Blumenauer has been the most vocal and active cycling champion in American politics. He founded the Congressional Bike Caucus in 1996 and helped secure billions in funding for cycling, walking, and transit investments nationwide.

Riding the Eastbank Esplanade in 2009.

In a statement yesterday, Blumenauer appeared to hint that he won’t disappear from the public eye once he’s permanently resettled back home in Portland:

“I have dedicated my career to creating livable communities where people are safe, healthy, and economically secure… There will be time later to reflect on our many accomplishments and where we go from here. Suffice it to say I am looking forward to my next chapter, which includes being a champion of making our community more livable. Portland is broken and I want to help fix it.”

Blumenauer will host a press conference this morning. On the way there I’ll bike over the carfree bridge that bears his name. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Michael Mann
Michael Mann
3 months ago

Earl’s political career started as a Multnomah County Commissioner in the late 70s, then nearly 10 years on City Council, and he’s continued to be deeply involved in local issues, especially in regards to land use and transportation. Maybe planning a return to his political roots? Fingers crossed.

Jack s
Jack s
3 months ago

Blumenauer for Mayor?!

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
3 months ago
Reply to  Jack s

Blumenauer for City Administrator

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
3 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

What I was thinking.
Or Transportation Director.

Austin
Austin
3 months ago

Blumenauer should run for Mayor of Portland. He also already well liked amongst Portlanders. He has a great deal of political experience, especially on the local level. Obviously above all else, extremely pro cycling! Earl would be a far better alternative than Mingus Mapps, that’s for damn sure!

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
3 months ago
Reply to  Austin

Under the new charter, the Mayor is going to be a mostly symbolic position whose only real power is as a tie-breaker in situations where the new council deadlocks 6-6.
Earl’s talents would be wasted as mayor.

clay
clay
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

I agree the new mayoral role will be a lot of figureheading, but I also think figureheads can be valuable. Blumenauer’s gravitas in that position could really help catalyze and broker trusting relationships among a potentially very fractious set of city councilors.

Jeff S
Jeff S
3 months ago

Jonathan, Portland had a bicycle coordinator for a full decade before Mia was hired – Jan Schaffer (circa 1980) followed by Krys Ochia.

clay
clay
3 months ago

Earl, please save us from “Mayor Mapps”!