What You Need to Know about the Mayor’s Race

The crowded contest to be Portland’s next mayor could be decided during the primary on May 17.

By Marty Patail April 22, 2016 Published in the May 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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1. A Chat With Sarah Iannarone

You’re running for mayor. How can you be successful in that office?
You have to be bold and humble at the same time. The joke that we make is that we have meetings about meetings here. Someone has to have the vision to be able to rethink the city from 30,000 feet. 

Will that be difficult with our weak-mayor system?
Yeah, it’s a huge challenge. The most successful mayors have this bold vision for Portland that keeps us headed towards our North Star. What is it we’re trying to be best at right now? You have to trust your people and colleagues to handle the smaller issues to get there. 

What are strategies you suggest?
I see other cities using data and technology far more effectively than we are. How can Portland be the wisest city? Where do you take all this knowledge about building good cities and apply better data systems, and more coordination between the bureaus? 

Where would we use that data?
One is freight. I’ve been car-free for a long time and I’ve had the luxury of doing that. But we’re a city that makes things and having our roads clogged up is bad for everyone. So, apply technologies on the Columbia corridor and I-205 to make sure our freight is moving efficiently. 

OK, what is the 30,000-foot vision?
We did very well 40 years ago setting up an anti-sprawl civic infrastructure to not encroach on our wild areas and make compact livable spaces. We’ve done that. They had an enemy at the door: the automobile, in large part, and sprawl. Right now, if there’s an enemy at the door, it’s social inequality. You see greater income inequality on every level. What is it doing to that rich middle of Portland society? Having a green carbon footprint is still important, but social justice, equality, and inclusion strengthen society.

2. How Long Do They Serve?

  • George Baker: 16 years
  • Terry Schrunk: 16 years
  • Vera Katz: 12 years
  • Average: 3.33 years

3. The Funds

  • $336,000: Money raised by state treasurer Ted Wheeler since last November
  • $94,000: Money raised by county commissioner Jules Bailey since last November
  • $22,000: Money raised by Sarah Iannarone since last November
  • <$1,000: Combined money raised by the other 12 candidates

4. The Crucial Numbers

  • 15: Number of candidates running for mayer
  • 2: Number of candidates (Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey) the Oregonian invited to its now-infamous canceled March debate
  • 50: Percent of the vote (plus one!) needed by any candidate in this month's primary to avoid a runoff in November

5. Candidate Spirit Animals 

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  • Ted Wheeler: Golden Retriever
  • Jules Bailey: Hedgehog
  • Sarah Iannarone: Owl
  • Jessie Sponberg: Gadfly
  • David “The Ack” Ackerman: Barnacle
  • Bim Ditson: Honey Badger
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