On June 14th, almost 2,000 friends, supporters, and volunteers filled the Memorial Coliseum to honor Earl's 40th year in elected office. Amongst music, dancing, and local food, the evening highlighted many of the Congressman and the region's accomplishments throughout the past 40 years. The list is included below:
Support for the Arts
Earl led the effort for the local “Percent for Art” and its later refinement and expansion.
Started Portland’s Recycling
Earl started Portland’s nationally acclaimed recycling program, launching the city’s status as a leader and innovator in sustainability.
Convention Center Funding
Earl led the successful increase of the hotel-motel tax that made possible the construction of the Oregon Convention Center.
Warehouse District to the Pearl District
Earl was given the task by Mayor Bud Clark to fashion a comprehensive city approach for the development of the Pearl District and its transportation system, now hailed as a national model for urban redevelopment.
Light Rail Line into a System
Earl led the effort to turn a light rail line into a system with the Regional Rail Project which evolved into the national Rail~Volution Conference.
A leader in renewable energy, he has authored legislation helping emerging wind, solar, and geothermal companies to fairly compete. The small windmills atop the Portland headquarters of ZGF Architects were first in the nation to take advantage of specific provisions Earl has written into law.
Safe Routes to School
Earl created this program, enabling children to get to school safely on their own, when he was on the Portland City Commission. With his staunch advocacy, it has become wildly successful nationally. The effort now aids some 11,000 schools and 4.8 million children with better sidewalks, bike lanes, and safe biking programs.
PSU Transportation Center
Earl was on the conference committee and championed the Transportation Equity Act that secured funding for the Transportation Center at PSU, an effort that allows the OUS system to collaborate, research, deal with problems of transportation and livability that extend here and beyond the metropolitan area.
Over 1200 Portland residents have taken the joint Portland State University / Portland Bureau of Transportation class that teaches citizens how to negotiate the maze of traffic and transportation issues.
Earl started the national streetcar movement in Portland with the creation of our vintage trolley program for the reintroduction of the modern streetcar, creating thousands of jobs and transforming communities across the nation.
Health & Fitness Advocate
Hailing from North America’s footwear capital, Earl can claim to have run more marathons min Nike-brand shoes than any other Congressman. Since 1978, he has run 37 marathons, and even finished “last” in the 1991 Portland Marathon with a time of 172 hours (Don’t ask).
Funding Critical Projects
Earl secured key federal support to replace the aging and seismically-unsound Sellwood and Sauvie Island bridges, and delivered funding for important projects like the East Burnside/Couch Couplet.
Revitalizing Mississippi & Alberta Avenues
Earl led the effort for the Albina Community Plan that revitalized some of Portland’s most troubled neighborhoods into some of the city’s most exciting and economically thriving, including Mississippi and Alberta Streets.
Bringing PCC to East Portland
Early in his career, Earl ran for and served on the Portland Community College board with the goal of expanding services into SE Portland. He fought to shift PCC’s priorities to serve the vast southeast area.
As County Commissioner, Earl led the creation and funding of the community’s first 911 system. Later, as a City Commissioner, he took over and completed a troubled program for the construction of the 911 Emergency Center.
East County Sewers
As a City Commissioner, Earl expedited the long overdue construction of sewers in East Portland that was mandated by the state. His faster, more efficient plan saved homeowners millions of dollars of costs in the process.
Earl helped secure federal funding for the Gresham-Fairview Trail, for environmental restoration of Johnson Creek, and also championed transportation improvements for the ethnically diverse and growing Rockwood Town Center.
Earl made a big difference for Sandy, Oregon, in helping the Sandy Area Metro (SAM) secure money for buses and its maintenance facility.
Protecting the Region’s Drinking Water
In 2001, Earl introduced legislation that enhances and protects the Bull Run Watershed, the source of drinking water for the Portland metropolitan area.
Bike and pedestrian facilities throughout the metropolitan area and into the Columbia Gorge, the Mosier tunnel, and the McLaughlin Bridge are all a direct result of Earl’s efforts for investment.
Protecting the Gorge
In 2006, Earl secured funding for land acquisition in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The funding purchased additional land in the Gorge from willing sellers in order to preserve the integrity of this national treasure.
Earl led the effort for new federal wilderness around Mt. Hood, designating 127,000 acres of new wilderness and almost 80 miles of new wild and scenic rivers on and around this Oregon icon.
Timber Tax Reform
In 1977, Earl authored reform of the Western Oregon Timber tax to be more equitable and more environmentally friendly.
Protecting America’s Timber Industry
Oregon forest products and lumber manufacturing benefit from legislation in Congress to prevent importation of illegally harvested timber that would unfairly compete for American jobs.
Healthcare Reform for Oregonians
Earl has led the fight in accelerating the reforms in the recent healthcare bill, aiming to ensure that Oregon is rewarded for doing a better job. Currently Oregon has some of the best health care delivery in the nation but has been short changed by Medicare reimbursements.
Native American Treaty Obligations
Earl has been a leader in Congress to preserve the sovereign authority of Native American tribal governments. He supports the Sovereign Protection Initiative and other efforts to halt and reverse the erosion of tribal sovereignty.
Agricultural Support & Reform
Earl has been a strong advocate for Oregon’s agriculture industry: its’ nursery and tree farming industry, its’ wine industry, and farmers markets—and actively supports research that ensures a strong future for agriculture in this state. He is a national champion for agricultural reform and ending wasteful subsidies.
Earl has been often honored for his visionary leadership in infrastructure and livability—including Honorary AIA Architect, Honorary Engineer, the APA Planning Award, and only the second National Honorary ATU ever awarded. He was also honored with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Ralph Lowell Award and the Association of Public Television Stations’ Champion of Public Broadcasting Award.
Lowering the Voting Age
Earl launched his political career against the backdrop of the 1960’s civil-rights movement, helping to organize Oregon's "Go 19" campaign to lower the state’s voting age. Two years later, the US Constitution was amended to allow 18-year-olds the right to vote.
Bikes, Bikes, Bikes
One of the “top 25 change agents in the history of bicycling,” Earl has become the spokesperson for bike and pedestrian issues. Earl’s Bike Master Plan for Portland helped build the highest bike participation in the nation, supporting a $100 million a year industry in this area; and upon entering Congress, he founded the Congressional Bike Caucus.
Wind Jobs Champion
Earl was recently presented with a USA Wind Jobs Champion Award for leadership creating and sustaining U.S. jobs in the wind energy industry and its manufacturing supply chain.
Flood Insurance Reform
Long before Katrina, Earl was fighting for more effective flood insurance and flood disaster management. Earl’s 2004 Flood Insurance Reform Act helps communities deal with repeatedly flooded properties with options for flood-proofing or moving their homes.
Humane Treatment of Animals
Earl has been recognized by the Humane Society of the United States as a leader in the humane treatment of animals, stopping illegal animal fighting and developing more environmentally sound treatment of farm animals.
Champion of Public Broadcasting
Earl is a recognized champion for protecting public broadcasting in Oregon, and has won every major national award from NPR, PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He is a tireless advocate for protecting this critical resource, and has been successful in fighting back on attacks for federal funding.
Fighting Climate Change
Earl has met with national and world leaders, scientists, and advocates; lending his strong voice to reduce carbon emissions. Earl’s brainchild, a Carbon Audit of the United States Tax Code, instructed the National Academy of Sciences to review of the tax code to identify tax provisions and policies that have the greatest influence on the generation of carbon emissions.
Opposing the Wars
Earl was a leader in the effort against the Iraq War, standing up and pushing back against the troubled policies in Afghanistan and supports cutting the bloated defense budget.
Protecting Iraqi allies
Earl refused to let the Iraqis who have worked for the US be abandoned. Provisions from his refugee bill included in the 2008 Defense Authorization Act included 5,000 special immigrant visas yearly for Iraqis working for US and threatened, as well as requiring the Secretary of State to consult with other countries about resettlement of refugee populations.
Greening the Military
No department within the Federal government consumes more energy or manages more infrastructure than the Defense Department. Earl co-chairs the bipartisan Unexploded Ordinance Caucus, and has championed provisions will help reduce the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and munitions on public health and the environment, saving money and increasing security.
Protecting the Amazon Rainforest
Earl helped protect the Amazonian rainforest from oil and gas exploration through ground-breaking multilateral environmental provisions within the US-Peru Trade Agreement. These provisions include prohibitions on trade in illegally-logged wood and wood products.
Relations with Vietnam
Earl was an early proponent of normalizing trade relations with Vietnam. This process not only helped strengthen reform and the rule of law in Vietnam—it opened markets to U.S. trade, including things we care about in Oregon like beef, apples, and pears.
Water for the World
Earl authored the “Water for the World Act;” federal legislation that redoubles the United States’ efforts to help provide an additional 100 million of the world’s poorest with the first-time access to safe and sustainable drinking water and sanitation by 2015.