Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from President Biden’s visit to Portland and Seattle on Thursday, April 21, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to read more about the first day of his two-day visit. Click here to follow live updates for Friday, April 22.

President Joe Biden is making a two-day visit to Portland and Seattle, during which he is expected to highlight his administration’s infrastructure spending and efforts to fight climate change and lower prescription-drug costs.

Biden’s Pacific Northwest visit began in Portland Thursday, where he touted benefits from the $1 trillion infrastructure measure signed into law late last year. The bill will allocate $1.2 billion in Oregon and $8.6 billion for Washington state.

Biden’s Earth Day appearance in Seattle on Friday — his first since becoming president — will come at an important time for his climate agenda as his administration makes a renewed push to try to gain Senate approval of a $550 billion package to cut carbon emissions.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the presidential visit.

Biden speaks at fundraiser in Seattle

At a fundraising event in Seattle, President Joe Biden spoke about China, his worries for the upcoming midterm elections and investments in the U.S.

Biden said Chinese President Xi Jinping “doesn’t have a democratic bone in his body,” according to a pool report. He said he told Xi he wouldn’t stop being critical on human rights issues.

Remarking on the midterms, he said to the group, which included Gov. Jay Inslee, that Democrats can’t afford to lose the House of Representatives, or the Senate, per the report.

"We have not invested in ourselves. America has not invested in America," Biden said about education and infrastructure.

He called Ukrainians "incredibly brave, incredibly resolved," per the pool report.

The motorcade left the home around 7:45 p.m.

—Paige Cornwell

Biden attends fundraiser in Seattle

President Joe Biden arrived shortly before 6 p.m. at a Democratic National Convention fundraiser, hosted by Microsoft’s Brad Smith and Kathy Surace-Smith at a Seattle home that overlooks Lake Washington, according to a pool report.

The reception was held at the home of Mary Snapp, corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies, and artist Spencer Frazer.

—Paige Cornwell

Traffic snarled as roads and highways close

As Air Force One landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at about 5:15 p.m. Thursday, roads and highways began closing in anticipation of Biden’s motorcade, snarling traffic on Interstate 5, Interstate 90 and Highway 520.

The Washington Department of Transportation would not confirm the precise timing and location of the closures.

“For security reasons put in place by the Secret Service we can’t share those specifics,” the agency said on Twitter. Nevertheless, traffic maps showed long streaks of red heading into and out of Seattle.

Travel times are especially bad for those trying to travel north and south through Seattle. Where it normally take drivers 43 minutes to go from Alderwood to Southcenter, it was double that, at 87 minutes, Thursday evening.

Read more about traffic and transit impacts here.

—David Kroman

Biden leaves Sea-Tac in motorcade

President Joe Biden landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, after departing Portland around 4:45 p.m. Biden was greeted by Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and SeaTac Mayor Jake Simpson.

The plane touched down just as the sky began to drizzle and turned to rain after the motorcade drove away.

—Amanda Zhou

Biden lands at Sea-Tac

Biden departs Portland en route to Seattle


Biden: Nation has unlimited future

President Joe Biden devoted most of his remarks at the Portland airport hangar to promoting the benefits of the infrastructure bill, which includes $25 billion in airport improvements. He toured the Portland airport previous to this appearance, and praised a mass timber roof that is part of a construction project.

He also spoke to inflation, which he blamed in part on supply disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, and also cited rising oil prices in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He ended his roughly half-hour appearance with a look at what he called the nation’s unlimited future.

But he said we “have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves” and earlier noted that “We just got to get the hell out of our own way.”

—Hal Bernton

Biden speaks in Portland


Drivers should expect intermittent heavy traffic congestion during Biden visit

The Washington Department of Transportation advised drivers to expect intermittent heavy congestion in the Seattle area Thursday evening and Friday due to temporary closures of the freeway system due to his visit.

Ahead of his arrival, Seattle police and King County Metro blocked off partial access to downtown, with cruisers and buses spanning roadways to prevent motorists from driving on streets near the Westin hotel.

From Thursday to Friday at 4 p.m., bus stops between Jackson and Blanchard streets and Third and Ninth avenues could see temporary closures or relocations. Both Sound Transit and King County Metro announced changes to several routes Thursday.

Closures on parts of Westlake Avenue North, Denny Way, Fourth Avenue, and Lenora, Virginia and Pine streets will affect 12 Metro bus routes: 7, 40, 62, 64, 70, 216, 218, 257, 268, 311, 320 and the RapidRide C Line.

Riders can see how their route is affected by visiting Metro’s service advisories page.

Read more about traffic and transit impacts here.

—David Kroman

Oregon's congressional delegation waits for Biden

President Joe Biden, as of 2:20 p.m., had yet to appear at the Portland airport hangar. Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation have been taking turns speaking on a podium about the benefits the 2021 infrastructure legislation may bring to Oregon.

Sen. Ron Wyden and others talked about the potential to fund a new rail link to develop a new cargo port at Coos Bay on the south coast of Oregon.

—Hal Bernton

Biden arrives in Portland

Seattle roads blocked before Biden's arrival

Sea-Tac flights may be delayed Thursday evening

Passengers arriving at or departing from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport should expect delays early Thursday evening, when President Joe Biden is scheduled to fly to the airport.

Biden is scheduled to arrive at Sea-Tac at 5:15 p.m., according to the White House. Security protocols require all air traffic to stop for at least 30 minutes before arrival and shortly afterward, Sea-Tac tweeted Thursday afternoon. Flights, as well as traffic into and out of the airport, will also be affected.

Travelers can check their flight status here.

—Paige Cornwell

Biden to visit Green River College in Auburn on Friday

President Joe Biden will visit Green River College in Auburn on Friday to meet with elected officials and students, the college's president said in an open letter Thursday.

Biden will speak in the Mel Lindbloom Student Union, Green River President Suzanne M. Johnson wrote.

"Green River was selected as a site in large part because of the vital career and technical programs we offer that support workforce development for the region and the state," Johnson wrote. "The nursing program is of particular interest."

The college, in Auburn, is also in Washington's 8th Congressional District, represented by Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier. Schrier, who is in her second term, is the most politically vulnerable of any of Washington's Democratic members of Congress in this year's midterm elections.

Seating for the event is limited and by invitation only, Johnson wrote. She said they were contacted by the White House earlier this week.

"As a college, we do not endorse a specific campaign or political agenda. We make our facilities available when they are not being used for educational or athletic purposes," Johnson wrote.

—David Gutman

In Seattle, Biden to issue Earth Day order to safeguard old-growth forests

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday in Seattle laying the groundwork for protecting some of the biggest and oldest trees in America’s forests, according to five individuals briefed on the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was not yet finalized.

Biden will direct the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to inventory mature and old-growth forests nationwide, three of the individuals said. He will also require the agencies to identify threats to these trees and to use that information to write policies that protect them.

The president’s order, however, will not ban logging of mature and old-growth trees, they added, and the administration is not considering a nationwide prohibition. It will include initiatives aimed at curbing deforestation overseas, promoting economic development in regions with major timber industries and calculating the economic value of other natural resources such as wetlands.

Read the full story here.

—Washington Post

Biden to land at Portland Air National Guard Base

Biden’s Thursday visit to Portland will largely unfold at the airport on the city's eastern flank, close by the Columbia River that separates Oregon from Washington.

He is scheduled to land at Portland Air National Guard Base, and will visit Portland International Airport, a hub for most of the state’s air passenger and cargo movements. He is expected to talk about an investment in improving an airport runway to make it more able to withstand an earthquake. The investment is part of a broader pitch he has been making about the importance of federal funding of projects made possible by the congressional passage last year of $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation.

Democratic strength in Portland and other urban areas helped Biden easily win the state in the 2020 election with 57 percent of the vote. His visit comes during a resurgent Oregon economy but in a difficult time in Portland, where homicides have surged, hitting the city’s people of color hardest, and a homelessness crisis continues to grow, becoming a focal point of much of the city’s political debate.

The racial injustice protests that thrust Portland into national headlines in 2020 are less frequent but ongoing. In February, the city was buffeted by a shooting, which unfolded just prior to a protest in northeast Portland, that resulted in the death of one woman and the wounding of four others. Benjamin Smith, also wounded, was charged in these shootings.

—Hal Bernton

A look at past presidents’ visits to Seattle

President Joe Biden's visit to Seattle comes 141 years after Washington’s first visit by a president, when President Rutherford B. Hayes arrived by steamship at the Yesler wharf in 1880 — 27 years after Washington Territory was founded, according to HistoryLink.

After that, presidents have regularly visited the Puget Sound area to give speeches and go on fishing trips, with Air Force One landing at Boeing Field or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Read the full story here.

—Amanda Zhou

What we know so far about President Biden's visit to Portland and Seattle

President Joe Biden will arrive at Portland Air National Guard Base at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, according to the White House. He’ll visit nearby Portland International Airport to highlight infrastructure investments such as an earthquake-resistant runway at the airport and deliver a speech promoting the benefits of such spending.

After attending a political fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, Biden is scheduled to fly to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, arriving at 5:15 p.m. He’ll attend another DNC fundraiser in Seattle Thursday night, according to the White House.

On Friday, Biden is scheduled to attend two Seattle-area events. One will highlight Democrats’ efforts to lower prescription drug costs.

A second, Earth Day-focused event will include Biden signing a climate-related executive order, according to a Democratic aide with knowledge of the president’s Seattle schedule, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the event publicly.

Such visits typically bring some traffic disruptions as stretches of roadway are temporarily blocked to make way for the presidential motorcade.

As of Wednesday afternoon, details about Biden’s schedule were limited and no public events had been announced. But past visits from the White House led to road closures and increased traffic because of presidential motorcades. Typically, the U.S. Secret Service does not reveal the exact route in advance, which can make it tough to predict which roads will be closed.

Read the full story here.

—Hal Bernton and Jim Brunner