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Transportation reformer Sarah Iannarone announces bid for Portland mayor

Posted by on July 9th, 2019 at 10:39 am

Sarah Iannarone made it official today: She wants to be mayor of Portland.

Iannarone spoke at the memorial to Lou Battams on Southeast Foster Road last month.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In a campaign video posted to Sarah2020.com that directly calls out current Mayor Ted Wheeler for his inability to make good on his “rhetoric of progressivism”, the 46-year-old Iannarone listed “climate change”, “housing affordability”, and “staggering inequality” as her top priorities.

Many BikePortlanders are familiar with Iannarone. She and her e-bike (her primary vehicle) have been a fixture at community events as both an activist and volunteer and she’s an outspoken advocate for safe streets. Among the many advocacy roles she fills, Iannarone is a member of the Portland Bureau of Transportation Bicycle Advisory Committee and the PBOT Bureau Budget Advisory Committee. She was formerly associate director of First Stop Portland, a Portland State University-based program that offered study tours to elected officials and other leaders.

In 2017 Iannarone wrote a guest article on BikePortland that remembered the leadership lessons of the late Portland Mayor Vera Katz. Her three takeaways from Katz’s career were: “Urbanism is a practice not a vision; Leadership requires chutzpah; Lead like a mother.”

In our in-depth interview during her 2016 mayoral campaign (where she finished third with 12% of the vote) we asked what she thought of city subsidies for parking garages. Iannarone said Portland needs to be more direct in, “… stating the intention that we’re going to stop subsidizing the automobile. Because it doesn’t meet any of our goals. It doesn’t meet our equity goals, it doesn’t meet our economic goals, it doesn’t mean our environmental goals.”

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Here’s a blurb from her campaign website:

“Portland is changing and we need a city that works for the majority of us, yes, but more importantly, we need a city that can adapt quickly while ensuring safety for those most at risk. A city rigged to work for the most privileged is not resilient, sustainable, or prosperous.

I believe Portlanders have everything we need to make radical progress TODAY on emergencies like climate chaos, housing affordability, and staggering inequality. We can harness our resources, empower our people, and organize our communities into a formidable force for change, but we need leadership that believes in us.”

Despite her clear political intentions over the past four years, Iannarone hasn’t dialed back her rhetoric. She’s taken bold positions on social media on everything from the I-5 freeway (she vehemently opposes expansion of it and wants to remove from the central eastside completely) to the controversial downtown protests between right and left-wing agitators.

Iannarone is running under the auspices of Portland’s Open and Accountable Elections program. That means campaign contributions will be limited to $250 and in exchange she’ll receive a 6-to-1 match for the first $50 of each contribution. To qualify for the program Iannarone will have to raise at least $5,000 from 500 Portland residents.

Iannarone’s campaign also filed their Notice of Intent to participate in the City of Portland’s newly established Open and Accountable Elections program. “I want to be accountable to every community member from Portsmouth to Powellhurst-Gilbert, Montavilla to Multnomah Village,” said Iannarone. “Instead of letting our agenda be set by wealthy, entrenched corporate interests, we’ll be participating in the city’s innovative new campaign finance program to ensure we hear from everyday Portlanders across the city, not just those who can buy access to City Hall with big checks.” In exchange for limiting contributions to $250, the campaign will receive a 6-to-1 match for the first $50 of each contribution. To qualify, Iannarone must raise at least $5,000 from 500 Portlanders.

Read more about Iannarone’s big announcement in the Willamette Week.

In related news, well-known City Hall staffer and current director of Latino Network, Carmen Rubio, has announced her intention to run for Portland City Council.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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John KingToby KeithRoberta M RoblesGordon J. Fulks, PhDJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) Recent comment authors
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Chutzpah
Guest
Chutzpah

Has she ever discussed public transit? Because I would LOVE to be less reliant on my car than I am today, but cannot because my neighborhood less than three miles from downtown is woefully underserved by TriMet. My ideal mayor is somebody who is prepared to make big investments into public transport, and who will work with TriMet to increase reliability, frequency, and connectivity around the region.

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

Sarah shows up. She isn’t in the halls of power, soliciting chits. She’s outside listening to and fighting with with the people who desperately need help from our City government. That’s a sea change from Ted Wheeler.

Some people will support her and some undoubtedly won’t, but her engagement in this race will ensure that issues of inequality and access are on the table in 2020. Good for her.

Carrie
Subscriber

Oh this fills me with joy. And actual hope.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Good for her… I hope some more also jump into the race.
Do nothing Wheeler will be easy to defeat if he runs (I doubt it, if he does any polling).
This city has a lot of issues that need addressing, Wheeler has basically turned over the government in Portland to the developers who are popping up all the expensive Soviet era architectural boxes all over town….
He has completely punted on the homeless issue.
Her article about Katz was superb.. the last mayor with any vision we have had in Portland.
If she runs on that she has my vote.

Chutzpah
Guest
Chutzpah

Jason
You’re on a bike blog, and three miles is an easy commute. Why don’t you ride?Recommended 3

Because the area of Portland I live in (southwest) is extremely unfriendly to bikes, and there is no good way from my house to my work. Believe me, I wish they would improve it, but thus far I’ve seen nothing from PBOT indicating that this region is a priority to them.

dan
Guest
dan

She should be careful, she might get what she’s asking for. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wheeler shows up at her door tomorrow, gives her the key to his office, and abdicates.

mh
Subscriber

OK, how do I get money to her campaign?

Gregg Lavender
Guest

I voted for her last time. She is amazing and I’d love to vote for her again (And volunteer for her campaign.) I sometimes imagine what would have happened in Portland and in the US if the last election would have turned out differently.

Grumpy wolf
Guest
Grumpy wolf

She could punt babies into the Willamette and I would still vote for her over wheeler.

Candor Cane
Guest
Candor Cane

Soooo, I like Sarah. I think her policy stances are great and that she honestly believes what she espouses. However, the intentional spread of misinformation that has been used to scare vulnerable people away from their sole form of transportation is a HARMFUL practice.

https://twitter.com/sarahforpdx/status/1127132241837023234?lang=en

It was later found that the ICE agents she’s referring to are simply fare inspectors. A vulnerable person saw their new blue uniforms and tweeted misinformation that stemmed from reasonable fear. What is not reasonable is someone with a platform, like Sarah, echoing these sentiments and adding fuel to a falsified fire. Sarah is not in a vulnerable position where she didn’t have time or resources to fact-check, nor did she take the time to clarify this after the truth surfaced. The tweet remains online and is still scaring vulnerable people away. This lack of accountability is what will sink her chances at this office.

Terry D-M
Guest

I have been waiting for this announcement. Sarah has been preparing for this run since her last campaign. It was a pleasure working on her last campaign and I would encourage anyone who wants to help to contact her!

SD
Guest
SD

Portland voters have been duped twice by mild mannered, bureaucrats who run on progressive values, but fail to accomplish anything or respond meningfully when they are elected mayor. Hopefully, this or worse won’t happen a third time. Sarah has been deeply engaged in Portland mayoral politics and policy for a long time without becoming complacent. If anyone understands how to use the “weak mayor” system for the benefit of Portlanders, it’s her.

Glenn II
Guest
Glenn II

“Despite her clear political intentions over the past four years, Iannarone hasn’t dialed back her rhetoric.”

This is kind of a sad sentence. Not picking on you, Jonathan – if anything you’ve correctly absorbed one of the lessons of our time: that most people with mainstream political ambitions eventually tend to start methodically eliminating one-by-one every single thing they used to stand for, and replacing them with banal & meaningless platitudes guaranteed to do no harm to the status quo. Which is good because the rich donors they need on their side in order to get media access and climb past a certain level, are the beneficiaries and protectors of that status quo.

But of course the other lesson of our times is that if the hundreds of millions of not-rich among us actually wanted the above situation, then how could a Trump type figure ever get so far? No smoothing-of-the-rough-edges going on there. It proves that, to the extent that voting is still a thing, populism is still a viable strategy. Maybe the only strategy at this point. So why not fight populism, with populism? There are plenty of “ordinary” people concerned about climate change, for example, just aching for someone to actually represent them for once, and come up with some kind of plan.

Lefties, how about landing a punch occasionally? It’s a battle. Not the time to be anodyne. You can work a debate with a climate populism slant. For example I’ll call this character Climate Trump:

Whichever Media Talking Head: “Your rebuttal, Senator?”

Climate Trump: “Well I hope you like 120-degree heat then. Vote for him and that’s what you’re gonna get. Say goodbye to Grandma now, because she’s not gonna make it. Get ready to sell the family farm. Go visit Miami now before it goes underwater for good.” etc. etc.

Get the idea? That’s how it’s done. “Oh how gauche,” right? How coarse. If that’s how you think, you’re too polite, out of touch with most people, and terrible at populism.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Is she ready for the rowdie city hall meetings?

Jamie Quinn
Guest
Jamie Quinn

So she has attacked Ted Wheeler in all kinds of issues and hasn’t offered a single solid plan of what she would do differently. She also has a history is scaring minority communities by putting out misinformation: https://twitter.com/sarahforpdx/status/1127132241837023234?lang=en

She also seems ok with antifa violence but against right wing violence when we should be against both. This concerns me as she appears to be all about partisan politics and she may close the door on people who don’t agree with her or subscribe to her politics.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
Guest

Heavens knows, we need someone better than Mayor Ted Wheeler. He seems entirely unable to run anything, let alone the City of Portland.

But I worry about challengers who are complete ideologues. When someone claims to be “progressive” or “conservative,” do they have ANY capability of thinking outside of the box they have locked themselves within? Perhaps the solution to many of our problems is not more fanaticism but more practicality? Do we really want to live in a world that only tolerates the most extreme ideas and people. Or would we be better off getting along with all, respecting a spectrum of ideas, and completely stopping the race-baiting?

Also, how about showing some respect for knowledge and science! When someone centers their political ambitions around “climate change,” you have to suspect that they probably know nothing about science, and worse have no respect for it. Our climate has always been changing for perfectly natural reasons and any arguments to the contrary need some ability to sort fact from fiction. A little education in the sciences obviously helps, as does a realization that science is very far from a political or religious exercise.

When a candidate runs on a very few slogans and key words such as “environmental goals” “resilient, sustainable, or prosperous,” you have to suspect that they have absolutely no concept of how to achieve them. Are windmills that kill vast numbers of birds and bats and destroy scenic vistas a reasonable source of renewable energy, especially when they need inefficient backup from fossil fuels?

Are any popular ‘solutions’ to perceived problems real ‘sustainable’ solutions if not solidly backed by science and engineering as opposed to politics? Of course not.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

dwk
Guest
dwk

Thanks for weighing in Gordon.. You have mistaken this forum for one where you think you can spread your famous climate change denial spiel…
The host may not be familiar with your work or the reason you were let go by OSU, but it is a free country to spread disinformation in as the current WH occupant knows. I am sure you are a big fan.
Did you send this to the wrong site?

Anubus
Guest
Anubus

She is also a big defender of the Wolfpack mentality of the illegal campers along spring water trail https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2927370874068204&id=100003859608410

Roberta M Robles
Guest

I’m toooo lazy to read all these comments. I support both Theresa and Sarah I. They are both woke mayoral candidates. Teresa is on top of the policing game with Jo-An. Sarah has put her mofo heart and soul holding cycling safe space so we can have these conversations. We need to elevate the matters that matter and save the vitriol for the white supremecist who are rural Oregon ethics. We got bigger fish to fry my friends. #antifa