Earl Blumenauer

Congressman Earl Blumenauer was born, raised and educated in Portland and has been an Oregon elected official for his entire career.

Earl Blumenauer profile
Congressman, 3rd District, Oregon
Portland, Oregon

He began his political career while still in college, spearheading a successful campaign to lower Oregon’s voting age to 18. He was 23 when he was elected to the Oregon State Legislature, winning every precinct in his district. In addition to chairing the Revenue and School Finance Committee, he played key roles in enacting Oregon’s landmark land use and transportation planning legislation, both still national models today. In 1978, Earl was elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and in 1986 was elected Portland’s commissioner of Public Works. As a member of the City Council and County Commission for almost 20 years, he championed programs and policies that led to Portland’s acclaim as one of the nation’s most livable cities.

Perhaps best-known for his efforts to provide Portlanders with a wider range of transportation choices — from light rail to bicycles to streetcar — Earl also launched curbside recycling, worked to protect the Willamette River from combined sewer overflow, fought to confiscate cars of repeat drunk drivers, and led successful efforts to increase local funding of Portland’s public schools. First elected to the US House in 1996, Congressman Blumenauer has carved out a unique role for himself as the Congress’s proponent of Livable Communities. From his seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he has focused on creating policies and partnerships that will make communities and the families that live in them safer, healthier, and more economically secure.

Recognizing that as the nation’s largest employer, landowner and tenant, the federal government influences policy not only through regulation but through its own actions, Congressman Blumenauer has built strong partnerships throughout the executive branch, urging agencies from the Department of Defense to the General Services Administration to lead by example.

Congressman Blumenauer has been described as the “Johnny Appleseed” of livability. Since his election to Congress, he has traveled to nearly 50 communities, working with local citizens and organizations on ways they can build more effective civic partnerships to improve land use, environment and transportation. He is equally committed to partnerships with his colleagues: he works with them through the Bike Caucus, which he founded, the Task Force on Livable Communities, which he co-chairs, and other member organizations such as the House Sustainable Development Caucus. In addition to being named a German Marshall Fellow in 1995, Congressman Blumenauer has won numerous awards from environmental, education and community groups. In 2000, he received two of the highest awards offered by the planning community: the National Building Museum’s Apgar Award and the American Planning Association’s Legislator of the Year Award. His academic training includes undergraduate and law degrees from Lewis & Clark College in Portland and graduate studies at Portland State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

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