Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, a career-long champion of land planning, livable communities and alternative transportation – particularly bicycling – will receive the Nohad A. Toulan Urban Pioneer award from Portland State University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs. The award will be presented Friday, June 13, as part of the College’s year-end hooding ceremony.
The ceremony will be held from 11 a.m. to noon at the Peter Stott Center on the Portland State campus.
The award, named after the college’s founding dean, is given annually to community leaders who have made exceptional contributions to the political, social and physical landscape of the Portland region.
In 1972, Blumenauer, now 65, became the youngest person in state history to be elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. He served in the House until 1977, then served on the Multnomah County Commission for seven years before being elected to the Portland City Council, where he served as the Commissioner of Public Works. He has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since May 1996. His innovative accomplishments in transportation, planning, environmental programs and public participation have helped Portland earn an international reputation as one of America’s most livable cities.
“His accomplishments have had and continue to have a profound impact on the way this city and region develops, and the degree to which it becomes more livable and sustainable as it changes,” said Ethan Seltzer, PSU professor of urban studies and planning, and a past president of the City of Portland Planning Commission. “Simply put, Earl has been a leader and a champion for a better city and region. The things he’s done in Portland became the template for his work throughout the U.S. and overseas.”
In Congress, Blumenauer is noted for his advocacy for mass transit, such as Portland’s MAX light rail and the Portland Streetcar. He has been a strong supporter of legislation that promotes bicycle commuting. He sponsored the Bicycle Commuter Act of 2008, which gives tax credits to employers who provide bike parking, bathing facilities, tune-ups or other support for their employees. He also is the founder of the 160-member Congressional Bicycle Caucus. Blumenauer routinely cycles about 20 miles a day, including from his Washington residence to the Capitol and even to the White House for meetings.
Since 1996, he has traveled to more than 200 communities across the country, working with local governments, citizens, and civic organizations to strengthen local efforts that manage growth, provide transportation options, and foster sustainable economic growth.
In addition to his political career, Blumenauer served as assistant to the president at Portland State from 1970 to 1977 while a student at Lewis and Clark College in Portland.