The former Portland mayoral candidate says the political action committee will focus on supporting progressive policies and candidates.

CAMPAIGN PHOTO - Sarah Iannarone took second place in the race for Portland mayor in November 2020. After losing the election to be mayor of Portland by a margin of roughly 20,000 votes, Sarah Iannarone has announced her next move: a political action committee called Our Portland.

"We cannot accept tepid leadership and centrist incrementalism if we hope to stave off social and ecological collapse," she said in a news release.

Iannarone registered the PAC with state officials on Nov. 12 and will serve as its director. Kris Wallsmith has signed on as treasurer. Iannarone has returned to work as a self-employed urban policy and best practices consultant, per the filing.

Iannarone says the group will serve as a grassroots effort to boost progressive candidates, policies, initiatives and ballot measures in line with the ideas she advanced during her campaign.

"Portland City Council has taken a disappointing conservative turn," she noted in a separate email to supporters soliciting donations to the PAC. "My campaign for Portland mayor was never about me personally but about the tactical optimism and progressive solutions we so desperately need to address our biggest challenges."

Some 147,964 voters cast a ballot for Iannarone during the November election — Iannarone's second run for the top spot at City Hall — but about 12% of the electorate chose a write-in candidate, leaving Wheeler with the most votes, if only by a plurality.

In the press release, former campaign director Gregory McKelvey compared Iannarone to Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia in 2018 but is widely credited with delivering the state to the Democratic Party during this year's presidential election.

"Sarah was inspired by Stacey Abrams' ability to transform her electoral loss into movement building that years later addressed many of the issues that unfairly impacted her election," McKelvey said. "I expect Sarah to do the same."

Our Portland will continue its podcast series hosted by Iannarone, and plans a progressive summit in early 2021.

Zane Sparling
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