PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY - Sarah IannaronePolitical insiders say a female candidate could soon enter the Portland mayor's race — and she's close to Mayor Charlie Hales' wife, Nancy.

Sarah Iannarone could announce as early as Thursday. She's the assistant program director of First Stop Portland, serving under program director Nancy Hales. The program coordinates tours of the region for delegations from other cities interested in learning more about Portland.

Contacted by the Portland Tribune, Iannarone would not confirm nor deny the speculation by press time.

Iannarone helped develop the program in 2008 while a doctoral student in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. Her educational background includes social equity, urban placemaking, smart cities, climate action planning, and sustainable development. She also is a community activist who co-owns the Arleta Library Bakery Cafe in Southeast Portland and serves on the board of the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, the steering committee of the SoMa EcoDistrict, the city of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Mixed Use Zones Project Advisory Committee, and the Mayor's Committee for the 2016-20 Portland Development Commission Strategic Plan.

Although Iannarone is entering the race late, she could share the stage with other mayoral candidates at the forum sponsored by the Regional Arts & Culture Council on Jan. 26.

At the very least, Innarone could help push the race into a runoff at the November general election by preventing any candidate from receiving more than 50 percent of the vote in the May primary election. There already are nine other announced or filed candidates in the race, including David "The Ack" Ackerman, Jules Bailey, Sean Davis, Steven J. Entwisle Sr., Lew Humble, Trevor Manning, David Schor, Jessie Sponberg, and Ted Wheeler.

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