The Associated Press
8/16/02 7:35 PM
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- President Bush will visit areas devastated by the Squires fire in Ruch next Thursday during a visit to Oregon that also will include a fund-raising dinner for Republican Senator Gordon Smith, the White House announced Friday.
Bush, who is taking a "working vacation" at his ranch in Waco, Texas, also plans stops in California, according to a schedule released by the president's office.
The president will deliver a speech on the importance of thinning forests to curb future wildfires, and has invited governors from Western states to join him during the visit, said a congressional source, who spoke on condition he would not be further identified.
Smith and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., will join Bush during his stop near Medford. Both lawmakers have been strong advocates of managing forests. Many environmentalists have challenged Republican calls for thinning forests as efforts to undermine restrictions on logging.
From Medford, Bush will travel to Portland for a round-table discussion with community leaders from around the state, and a $1,000 per person reception for Smith, the congressional source said.
Bush made another visit to Portland in early January that was seen as an effort to bolster the reelection bid of Smith, who faces a challenge from Democratic Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. The president has not planned any further visits to Oregon, said the source.
Smith has raised $5.1 million in campaign funds for the November election and has no debt, according to campaign finance reports released last week.
From Portland, Bush was to fly to Stockton, Calif., according to the White House schedule.