Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone addresses off-street path safety concerns

A rider on the Springwater Corridor path.
(Photo: Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

During a live, online conversation with a supporter Monday evening, mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone was asked how she’d address safety concerns and homeless camping on the Springwater Corridor path — an issue that has challenged Portland leaders for nearly a decade.

The interview was with Portland-based attorney Alan Kessler. Kessler asked Iannarone to repeat an answer about the issue he overheard her share at a recent open house hosted by “cycling lawyers” (who he described as “the lycra folks who go on fast carbon fiber bikes and go for long rides”).

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

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?

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Coronavirus updates: North St. Bags making PPE, OBRA benefit jersey, Sarah’s latest plan

North St. Bags owner Curtis Williams models his latest creations.
(Photo: North St. Bags)

As Portland settles into life during a public health crisis, local businesses, organizations, and community leaders continue to step up and adapt.

Here’s a roundup of local coronavirus-related news…

North St. Bags Makes the Switch

Portland-based bag maker North St. Bags has joined the list of local companies making personal protective equipment. The company has suspended production of its popular backpacks and panniers to help protect frontline medical workers.

North St. owner Curtis Williams said, “We wanted to be able to put our expertise to use and help the situation, and we think this is the best way to do that.”

Face shields and surgical masks are already shipping out to hospitals and government agencies. Most are being sold, but North St. also has a donation program where people can “buy” a mask via their online store to help cover their production costs and allow the company to donate some items.

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Portland bike shop will host event in support of mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone

“If we offend a few folks along the way, I guess that’s the cost of activism.”
— Eva Frazier, Clever Cycles

Sarah Iannarone is a serious challenger to incumbent Mayor Ted Wheeler. After coming out of nowhere to nab 12% of the vote in her first try at the mayor’s office in 2016, her campaign has stepped way up this time around. One of the places she enjoys considerable support is among Portland’s legion of transportation reformers, where many know her not just as a politician, but as a fellow activist who often walks, rides, and rallies alongside them.

That might explain why one of Portland’s most well-known and established bike shops, Clever Cycles, has decided to host a house party for her. On March 3rd, Clever Cycles is inviting interested folks to join them at the shop for snacks, drinks and a discussion of Iannarone’s many plans.

I asked shop co-owner Eva Frazier to share why she supports Iannarone and why she’d risk getting directly involved in politics. Here’s what she said:

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Iannarone at a BikePortland Wonk Night event in 2016.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

“I was having a conversation with another woman in the Portland bike scene. She said that we have this platform as business owners and would be wasteful to not leverage that to make Portland a better place. Portland has seen a lot of change, but also a lot of stagnation on fronts that we care about. We’re looking to the future politicians of Portland to make policy that brings us forward into a brighter future. I voted for Sarah four years ago, and I guess Portland wasn’t quite ready for her then. We need some serious change to make Portland into the city we all want to live in. Electing a mayor that walks the walk will get us there a little faster. One of the appealing aspects of owning a small business is not having to toe the corporate line. If we offend a few folks along the way, I guess that’s the cost of activism. If we don’t offend anyone, then we’re probably not doing our job.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Iannarone’s platform, consider showing up on next Tuesday. Here are the event details on Facebook. Frazier points out that the shop is family-friendly and there’s a play area for children away form the partying and politicking.

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