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Mayoral Candidate Sarah Iannarone: Portlanders need more space for fresh air and exercise

Posted by on April 22nd, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Sarah Iannarone at a rally for the 2030 Bike Plan in February.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If Sarah Iannarone gets elected to be Portland’s next mayor our streets will probably look and feel a lot different.

A strong transportation reform activist who gets around via e-bike and sits on the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s bicycle and budget advisory committees, Iannarone would very likely oversee PBOT if given the opportunity.

That might be why many of Portland’s grassroots transportation activists support her campaign. That might also be why her recently released Recovery and Resiliency Plan calls for things like more investments in bikeways, free transit, and an e-bike ownership incentive program. She’d also created “zero emissions thrive zones” and “pedestrian streets”.

I recently asked Iannarone to weigh in on the open streets debate. That is, what (if anything) should Portland do to take advantage of major changes in how people are getting around during the Covid-19 outbreak?

Here’s what she said:

“There has been a lot of discussion about open streets in Portland as people are self-enforcing the shelter-in-place order from Governor Kate Brown. I am concerned about the city’s lack of preparation on this front. Where is Portland’s emergency transportation plan so we’re not hammering this out in a crisis?


If I were mayor during this emergency, I’d be working to ensure Portlanders had safe access to fareless transit, ample right-of-way free for moving about outside their homes, including in the streets, with a focus on making sure the multifamily dwellers along East Portland arterials have safe space to get fresh air and exercise. I want us to make sure vulnerable Portlanders feel safe in our streets, which means assuring the public that traffic police would be focused on activities such as excessive speeding, not people gathering out of doors. I would tell the public to not call police about neighbors who they feel may not be properly socially distanced.

Ultimately, however, my focus now is people doing everything they can to keep themselves and their neighbors safe and to fight to preserve and maintain the gains in air quality, congestion relief, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and Vision Zero that we’ve realized as a silver lining in this otherwise abysmal situation.”

This response is in line with other comments she’s posted to Twitter, urging PBOT to take actions that will allow more Portlanders to use the streets on feet and bikes while maintaining a safe social distance.

“Now, we wait on City of Portland to open the streets to bikes and pedestrians so our kids can play in front of their homes spatially distance and free from harm,” she posted on March 23rd after Oregon Governor Brown announced that all playgrounds and ball courts would be closed. “Tick tock, tick tock.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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Gregg Lavender

I REALLY hope that Portlanders show up and show out and vote for Sarah for mayor, and talk to all of our friends about Sarah Iannarone. All politics are local and this would make such a huge impact to our community.


Sarah Iannarone is someone that I trust. She is the mayor that we’ve been waiting for.

And I can’t wait for Ted Wheeler and Donald Trump to no longer be my mayor/ president.


Jon, as you interview mayoral candidates and commissioners, can you be sure to ask them these three questions:

1) Have you been a city with an integrated shared urban hiking/biking trail system?

2) If so, what city?

3) What are feelings about having true urban mountain biking options in Portland?


The only free transit that is going to survive this pandemic is bikes and walking. Nobody that has a choice will be getting on a bus or Max train for a long time and there is not going to be the money to waste on a system that has no paying passengers when the bills come due for all the stimulus. Now is the time to increase gas taxes by a lot to help raise the funds for government and make sure automobile use is limited to the most important trips.

Toby Keith
Toby Keith

Your pop-up party zone is another person’s path to WORK.

Craig Giffen

Let me preface this with I’ve hiked the PCT a couple times and have done about 20k miles of bicycle touring…so I do like to get outside.

However, maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t felt the need at all to “get outside to regain my sanity” past the daily two block dog walk or work outside in the yard. I’m freaked out being around other people right now. Trying to navigate a public space full of people feels like a stressful nightmare so I nope out of that real quick. If I do have to be with the public, it is out of solid necessity, if I want “fresh air” I’ll go sit on my porch.

I have two close friends in their mid-40s who think they had COVID-19 only for the fact that they said they were horribly sick for a solid 10 days with a sickness unlike anything they ever experienced in their livee. One of my friends kept bags of frozen peas on his head and he said he never thought a bag of $2.00 frozen peas would feel like a lifeline. Yeah, I’d like to avoid that.


Sarah is out of touch with reality. This is a topic that appeals to people but isn’t based on facts. She says, “police would be focused on activities such as excessive speeding, not people gathering out of doors.” That sounds nice, and it is exactly what is happening now. Police have publically announced they are going after street racers and have pulled over a number of reckless drivers. There have been very few if any, stories of police responding to social distancing calls. Sarah is great at packaging things to sound nice, but when they are broken down, they are already being done.

Don’t elect someone who is all talk with no background to get things done, we already have that in the Whitehouse.

Ron Swaren
Ron Swaren

Sorry, but the Great Outdoors is an inherent health risk in this area. The influenza viruses are carried across the Pacific by marine life—and last time I checked we were on the leading edge of the North American continent to get it first. When that wraps up—around mid winter–we have a few months of respite before the tree pollen allergies set in for the next two months. Hot summer weather tamps down the viruses—-but late summer and September start bringing east-of-the Cascades dust and forest fire smoke and then certain kinds of trees which like to drop seed pods around that time.

So if you find yourself getting sick around here it might just be Mother Nature taking revenge. You can blame it on the whales, the seabirds, or even the Scotch broom, blackberries and other leafy brush that springs up everywhere—-but trying to get away from nature’s onslaught around here is an uphill battle. Politics is not going to help that much.

Keith McCarthy
Keith McCarthy

Sorry but there’s no way I’m voting for Sarah. No experience and seriously out of touch with reality. We got a guy like that right now like that in the White House. How’s that going?


At the recent KATU mayoral debate Sarah said she would stop cleaning up homeless camps.

Back when Adams was mayor and the Occupy movement came about, he allowed the camps and open air chop shops to get established and out of control.

Hales came into office, kept the same policy of doing nothing, and Springwater Corridor was taken over and dilapidated RVs started showing up.

Wheeler worked with the other council members and came up with a process and funding for cleaning up camps. He’s the only mayoral candidate who committed to the clean ups.

Whether it’s camping or traffic, not enforcing rules does not make things better.