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14 months from now Earl Blumenauer will no longer represent Portland on Capitol Hill.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.
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.