There are a record four open seats on city council this year, including for mayor, and we interviewed almost every candidate running to fill them. This is one in a series.
NOTE: all of these interviews were conducted before the Covid-10 outbreak.  

Sarah Iannarone, running for Mayor of Portland

Portland has rested on our laurels and our history of progressive governance for decades without making the meaningful changes necessary.

What’s the most pressing problem facing Portland and what are you going to do about it? 

Throughout my mayoral campaign, I’ve been prioritizing tackling three overlapping issues: our housing affordability crunch, staggering wealth inequality, and acting with urgency on the climate emergency. Portland has rested on our laurels and our history of progressive governance for decades without making the meaningful changes necessary to address these interwoven crises with real action.

Throughout my months campaigning, I have outlined a comprehensive Green New Deal for Portland, a Housing for All platform, and a Rethinking Public Safety plan alongside a Good Governance framework to reform the city’s governing structures to achieve our goals. I have been able to propose these initiatives because while my opponents are taking big checks from downtown businesses, out-of-state corporations and developers, I have capped my donations at $250, and received over $1800 donations with an average size of $30. 

How would you define a successful term in office? 

After four years, as I reflect on the completion of my first term in office, I hope we are eagerly reflecting on demonstrable, quantifiable successes, including: 

  • Reduction in carbon emissions citywide, on track to hit our 2030 goals, along with a declaration of a climate emergency 
  • Successfully hitting targets for construction of new homes in the region, both market-rate and affordable alongside robust anti-displacement and renter protections 
  • Established robust community oversight of Portland Police Bureau with real teeth 
  • Completion of a successful, robust charter review process that will allow the city to reform the “weak mayor” commission form of government 
  • A sharp reduction in traffic fatalities on the streets of Portland to keep us on track to be fatality-free in 2025, as articulated by the 2015 Vision Zero initiative 

I have released numerous, extensively detailed policy proposals describing what I intend to achieve as Mayor. 

What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you? 

In my former career I was a professional pastry chef working in some of the best kitchens in the best food cities across the country, including New Orleans. The restaurant I founded here in Portland was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri (and if you stay up late, you can still catch the episode from time to time). In addition to Guy, I’ve fed a number of celebrities including Sylvester Stallone, Lawrence Fishburne, Mel Tillis, and Dr. Dre.