Latest mayoral candidate is an urban planning wonk who commutes on a folding e-bike

Latest mayoral candidate is an urban planning wonk who commutes on a folding e-bike


Sarah Iannarone

Sarah Iannarone, a doctoral candidate in the venerable Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, is running for Portland mayor. The Willamette Week reported the news earlier today and a source tells us Iannarone will make an official announcement this Thursday at 11:00 am in front of City Hall.

According to the Willamette Week, Iannarone was encouraged to run by none other than our current mayor Charlie Hales. The connection? Iannarone works with Nancy Hales at First Stop Portland, an organization housed at Portland State University that shows off Portland’s livability and urban planning successess to delegations from around the globe.

Iannarone, 42, joins Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey in a race that so far has failed to muster excitement from Portland’s large number of urban planning and transportation wonks.

Here’s more from The Willamette Week on what her entry means to the race:

Iannarone’s candidacy would add an element of unpredictability to a race that was shaping up as a head-to-head contest between Wheeler and Bailey.

With her experience advocating bicycle transportation and greater urban density, Iannarone could siphon the votes of Portland’s young liberals away from Bailey. Those votes are crucial in the May primary, where voters are usually older and more conservative.

But her candidacy also increases the likelihood of a runoff in the November general election. In a presidential election year, like this one, November voters are often younger and more liberal. That could be bad news for Wheeler, a Democrat seen as the more conservative candidate in the race.


An image from the First Stop Portland website.

Iannarone doesn’t just sing the praises of urban cycling at her day job, she has more real-life, everyday cycling experience than either Bailey or Wheeler. A quick scroll through her Twitter timeline shows that Iannarone commutes to work year-round on a folding electric bike.

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30 min behind schedule, overdressed for the ride and underdressed for the office, but back in the game! #ebikeactive

— Sarah Iannarone (@SarahSvati) November 9, 2015

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"You got electric assist? Cuz I don't usually get passed by a girl in 6 in heels on 10 in wheels." #ebikeactive

— Sarah Iannarone (@SarahSvati) November 17, 2015

Iannarone is also mentioned in a 2009 Portland Mercury story titled, “Protest for Pedestrian Rights.” Iannarone participated in that rally following a collision that killed two women who were walking in the crosswalk at SE 80th and Foster. “This road was designed for automobiles, not for people,” Iannarone told The Mercury. “What we need to do is make it more difficult for cars to go through.”

I also couldn’t help but notice the urban planning books on the shelf in the photo Iannarone chose to use on her Twitter profile:



That’s some wonktastic stuff right there. This race just got much more interesting.

We plan to attend Iannarone’s official announcement on Thursday. Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

UPDATE, 1/20 at 6:47 am: This article initially stated that Iannarone’s announcement would be made in front of Keller Auditorium. It will be made in front of City Hall. Sorry for any confusion.

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