Candidate Highlight: Mayor of Portland

Photo by Wesley Lapointe/ Willamette Week

“I believe Portland is a city on the brink of global greatness... but we’re hog-tied in many ways by outdated local practices and business as usual. Our commissioner form of government is the only one in the United States for a reason. Within it, it’s tough to be effective and efficient.

-Sarah Iannarone

Meet Sarah Iannarone, one of the candidates running to be Mayor of Portland. With a background in city planning, Sarah is setting her attention on fixing Portland’s housing problem and has put forward a Five-Year Action Plan for ending Portland’s Housing State of Emergency. She aims to rethink public safety, and her four part policy includes building upon Portland’s status as a sanctuary city, and establishing a zero-tolerance policy for racist and violent police officers. Sarah is also dedicated to focusing on the climate crisis, and will declare a climate emergency followed by the implementation of new policies, including the prohibition of all new fossil fuel infrastructure, expansion of access to public transit, and establishment of “zero emission zones”. As a community organizer, Sarah knows how important public trust is in the government, and vows to improve transparency. She forced the Nov 3 runoff after receiving 24% of the vote during the May 19 primary, leaving her opponent with 49%, just short of the 50% cutoff.

Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

"In order to do the right thing and to provide the right long-term view for the city, it might mean you're only in politics for a little while. And I made a decision that that's OK with me."

-Ted Wheeler

Meet Ted Wheeler, the incumbent Mayor of Portland, and a member of the Democratic party, although Oregon’s municipal elections are nonpartisan. Ted was the Oregon State Treasurer from 2010- 2017, and was elected mayor in 2016. As treasurer, he committed to doubling Oregon's investments in renewable energy resources and continues to support investment as mayor. Wheeler is a supporter of gun control and in June announced that the Portland Police Bureau will dissolve its Gun Violence Reduction Team, which was targeting Black Portlanders at disproportionate rates. The mayor then pledged to shift the money to programs that would help POC. Mayor Wheeler recently requested the deployment of the Oregon National Guard in response to protests in May, but after a protester was injured on July 11, he called for the federal officers to adhere to the Portland Police rules. Critics believe that Wheeler’s statement was not enough, as it did not condemn the officer who struck the protester with a projectile, ask the federal agents to leave, or respond to Trump who has criticized the city’s handling of protests.

According to a poll in June, 35% of Portland voters are undecided, 33% say they would vote for Wheeler, and 32% would vote for Iannarone. This race will be extremely close. Here’s how you can support Sarah’s campaign:

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