Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden filled the David Douglas high school gymnasium in Southeast Portland for a town hall meeting, one of several such gatherings being held by lawmakers during the congressional recess.
Town halls around the country have been scenes of raucous crowds in recent weeks — some furious with the start of the Trump administration, others more relaxed.
Wyden’s stop in Portland drew an estimated 3,500 people, according to his staff. It was one of several town halls the senator held around Oregon this past week.
Ed Nordstrom, 88, and wife Donna, 90, who moved to Portland from Indiana a year ago, visited with Terry O’Rourke, 63, who relocated from San Francisco last spring, before the town hall began.
O’Rourke, a diabetic, said his medical alert service dog, a yellow lab named Norm, lets him know when his blood sugar gets too low. He is concerned about the rising price of insulin.
“The drug companies are parasites,” O’Rourke said.
Wyden has been a vocal opponent of rapidly increasing drug prices. Last year, Wyden called for an investigation into pharmaceutical company Mylan, after it raised the EpiPen price to more than $600 apiece.
Meanwhile, Donna Nordstrom said she wants Wyden to tell her “how to curtail ‘King Trump.’”
Wyden used the platform to further emphasize demands he’s made of President Trump and his administration since they took office.
The Democrat told the vocal and responsive crowd that Trump’s tax returns are key to understanding his connections with Russia and that an independent investigative commission must be formed to determine the truth.
Trump has repeatedly batted away reports of his presidential campaigns connections to Russia and has also refused to release his tax returns.