Nuestra ciudad. Nuestro futuro. Nuestra eleccion.
The #OurPortland Podcast

Election Day Special: Community Placemaking

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About this Episode

November 5, 2019

Happy Election Day 2019! Sarah offers her endorsements for today’s ballot and announces a Community Conversation happening next Monday evening in SE Portland. Find details and RSVP at

¿Tiene una pregunta para Sarah? Mándesela al [email protected].


Announcer: [00:02] Welcome to Our Portland with Sarah Iannarone, made possible by contributors to Friends of Sarah for Portland. Portlanders have everything we need to make radical progress today on emergencies like climate chaos, housing affordability, and staggering inequality. Each episode we'll hear how Sarah plans to be the mayor to lead the city of Portland to a more equitable and sustainable future. And now, here's Sarah.

Sarah: [00:32] Welcome to a special Election Day episode of Our Portland. I'm Sarah Iannarone, a candidate for Portland mayor. If you're listening to this on Tuesday, November 5th, this is a special election day. If not, stay tuned, there's going to be a lot of conversation relevant beyond today's election. But I do want those of you who haven't yet voted, to think carefully about completing your ballot and getting it in before 8:00 PM tonight. If you are unsure of where to do this, you can go online to to find out anything you need. Drop off locations, where to get a ballot if you lost yours, how late you can submit your ballot, how you can submit to run for your own election if you want. But I want to let you know how I voted. I'm about to drop off my ballot and I endorsed all of the measures. So going through them quickly, there's a yes vote on everything on the ballot from my end.

Sarah: [01:38] 26-204 amends the charter to increase protections for the Bull Run Watershed. Should we amend our charter to increase the Bull Run Watershed protections by restricting access, regulating allowed activities and limiting land uses? My vote for that was yes. The Bull Run Watershed closure area includes the Bull Run Watershed management unit, which is jointly managed by the City and the US Forest Service, and additional land to the west, which is managed exclusively by the City. The Bull Run Watershed closure area is managed to provide high quality drinking water for the Portland metropolitan area. A yes vote on that. Good stuff people.

Sarah: [02:18] All right. City of Portland measure 26-205 amends the City Charter to authorize the city participation in emergency mutual aid agreements. We want to say a nice thanks to commissioner Amanda Fritz for taking a healthy lead on this. Thank you, commissioner Fritz for that. What it asks is shall the charter be amended to authorize emergency mutual aid agreements between the city and other government entities, tribes or utilities? My answer, yes. Amending our charter by clarifying council authority to enter into and fund mutual aid agreements, to provide or receive emergency assistance between our city and other government entities, tribes or utilities following a significant natural disaster or other disruption. Sounds like a good thing to me, especially when we're thinking about dynamic times, how cities can help each other. I voted yes on this.

Sarah: [03:16] Flip over your ballot. Now there's a Metro ballot measure. Metro being our regional government, the only directly elected regional government in the U S of which we should be very proud. Metro measure 26-203 bonds to protect water quality, fish, wildlife habitat and natural areas. The question put to voters: shall Metro protect clean water, natural areas, access to parks and nature, issue bonds estimated to maintain current tax rate? My answer to that is yes. Noteworthy on this ballot measure is the leadership from frontline communities and communities of color who have a vested interest in making sure that our parks and green spaces and habitat areas are equitably distributed around the region and I've even had word that there may be some participatory budgeting elements to this. So I am very excited about Metro measure 26-203. I endorsed that with a hearty heck yeah.

Sarah: [04:17] Alright. The last one in this special election, Portland Public Schools measure 26-207. You might've seen me showing up for support of this this week. I'm very excited about making sure that our teachers are well funded. It's a levy to renew, to maintain teaching positions and classroom supports. The question put to voters: shall our district maintain teaching positions, classroom supports and renew the levy of $1.99 that's one dollar and 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed value of a home or property for five years beginning in 2020? This measure renews current local option taxes, meaning your taxes aren't going to go up, they're just going to stay the same. Are you okay with that? I think renewing the Portland teachers levy sounds like a pretty good idea to make sure that we maintain over 800 teaching positions, fund programs for comprehensive education and ensure independent oversight so that our tax dollars are used for purposes approved by voters. So yeah, hearty yes for teachers, yes, for kids, renewing the teachers levy.

Sarah: [05:28] So there's been a lot of talk in the national news because while you're listening to this, we're about a year out from the 2020 election. There's going to be some pretty interesting stuff happening in our nation around that time between the Democrats and Republicans in terms of who gets to control the White House. I don't want you to get distracted in terms of what I'm trying to do here in Portland. The race that I'm running right now is actually a race for the May primary. So my race is a lot more like the conversation between Biden and Warren than it is between whoever the Democrats nominate and Donald Trump. What does that mean? That means that we need to do our fundraising now. It means that we're running early so that we can win this primary election. Most of the Democrats at the national level are already running in their primaries and that's what I'm doing is I'm running a primary election.

Sarah: [06:22] What does that mean? That I need from you? I need you to sign up to volunteer. I need you to sign up to contribute. My average contributions are hovering right around $35. For my opponent in the last election, it was more likely they would be hovering around five thousand dollars. This is important. I'm running as a publicly financed candidate, which means that I can be a completely viable, very competitive opponent to the incumbent, even though that person has access to big donors and establishment networks because each contribution from any Portlander is matched for the first $50 that they contribute 6-to-1 from a public fund. That means if you're a Portland resident who gives $50 to my campaign, that actually comes into our campaign account as $350. So I encourage you to take a moment, go to, give what you can, sign up to be a $5 a month recurring donor, sign up to volunteer at and please get involved.

Sarah: [07:28] I also want to talk a little bit about an event we have coming up on Monday, November 11th in Southeast Portland. Because I am a publicly financed candidate, it frees me up from the traditional fundraising hustle that most candidates have to do to be competitive. When you're running for office, oftentimes you need to focus on cultivating donors and donor relationships. How can I make sure that my donor networks are established and fruitful? You need to keep those dollars flowing into your campaign. Now, that's important for us, but we need to keep $5 and $10 and $15 contributions coming into our campaign. I don't have to worry about $500, $1,000 and $1,500 contributions. It's just not the focus of how we're going to be doing this. That does free us up to think outside the box in terms of how we're going to communicate with the public. I have time, for instance, to tape podcasts. I don't have to be in my office emailing or phone calling donors.

Sarah: [08:30] I'm also hosting what I'm calling a series of community conversations. These are interesting talks where we can come together to discuss challenging issues in ways that you don't generally see in more traditional campaigns. So unlike a public forum where you have a moderated discussion and it's primarily on the issues and the policies that you'll throw down as an elected official, what I'm going to do is sit down with some of my friends, people who challenge me, people who inspire me, people who are doing interesting and creative, things that I admire and talk with them about what are they thinking in terms of how things should be going in the future. What have they learned in their time on the ground here in Portland? What experiences do they bring from elsewhere and how can we really move a conversation forward about solving some of our biggest challenges.

Sarah: [09:21] I'm really excited to sit down with my longtime friend Mark Lakeman. I met Mark a long time ago. One of my first forays into politics was when I asked my local government, right? I called PBOT and I said, "Hey, can I get some help with a crosswalk here so our kids can get to the park safely?" PBOT said "uh, no, you can't have a crosswalk there because it's not a safe crossing and we would be liable if someone was hurt crossing that intersection." So I took matters into my own hands and decided to create a community placemaking project that we called the Arleta Triangle. And from there we created a pedestrian environment that was also a sustainability demonstration project, but more importantly, it was a way for us to build community in an area that didn't have a lot going for it at the time. You know, our nickname was Felony Flats. Sometimes people even called us Methlehem out there and I found it really insulting because that wasn't the place that I experienced. It wasn't the place that I knew it to be. I knew that I was from a rich community that was diverse and powerful, and I really wanted to harness that energy and get my neighbors connected to each other so that we could make transformative change, even if the government wasn't going to be there to help us.

Sarah: [10:34] And so I reached out to Mark for help on this because he had experienced through an organization that he had co-founded called the City Repair Project. The City Repair Project was an innovator, a civic innovator, a placemaking innovator, and he's also a brilliant architect and urban designer.

Sarah: [10:51] So I'm going to sit down and talk with Mark a little bit about what has he learned in his decades of helping communities do placemaking. What has he done, what has he learned by going to other cities and sharing lessons from Portland. And not just around the US but around the world, and what are the ways that we can continue to take what we know about community placemaking, about community organizing in the public right of way, and use it to transform Portland and to address some of the biggest challenges that we're facing. I know that Mark, through his work, has moved beyond just environmental sustainability to social sustainability and equity and inclusion concerns as well.

Sarah: [11:29] So we'll be coming together Monday, November 11th, 6:30 to 8:30 PM at St Philip Neri Church, 2408 SE 16th Avenue. So I'm excited about that. I hope you'll register, show up, bring a neighbor, bring a friend, someone you'd like to get to know better. I think community is built one relationship at a time and we'd love to have you be a part of it.

Announcer: [11:53] Thanks for listening to Our Portland. For more information about next week's event and to RSVP, please visit And we need volunteers for the event, so if you can help, please visit And don't forget to rate this podcast and review us on iTunes. You'll help others discover this campaign and the Our Portland podcast. See you next week! This has been a production of Friends of Sarah for Portland.