Sam Adams, who served as Portland’s mayor from 2009 to 2012, has filed paperwork to run against Commissioner Chloe Eudaly in the May 19 primary election. According to City Elections Officer Deborah Scroggin, Adams’ paperwork came in this afternoon.
Prior to entering the mayor’s office, Adams spent four years as a Portland city commissioner and eleven years as former Mayor Vera Katz’ chief of staff. Instead of running for a second mayoral term in 2012, Adams left the public sector to run Portland City Club. In 2014, Adams moved to DC to work on climate policy at the World Resources Institute.
Adams left his position in DC in December 2017, a month after former City of Portland mayoral aide Cevero Gonzalez accused Adams of sexual harassment during his tenure as mayor. In a statement sent to the press, Gonzalez alleged that Adams had expected him to assist in scheduling and setting up sexual encounters for Adams, and often asked Gonzalez sexual and inappropriate questions.
Since Gonzalez’s allegations came after the state’s statute of limitations on sexual harassment cases ran out, the claims were never investigated in court. The City of Portland also refused to investigate.
Adams did, however, hire a Portland law firm to investigate Gonzalez’s claims. The final report, made public yesterday, claims that Gonzalez’ allegations wouldn’t have held up in court if he had brought them to trial. This conclusion was based on the opinions of retired Oregon judge Lyle Velure and Portland employment attorney Rebecca Cambreleng. Unlike an actual court case, this investigation did not rely on any evidence collected through legal discovery. Instead, the investigation relied solely on past news coverage, Gonzalez’ public letter to media, and interviews with former city staffers conducted by the lawyers Adams himself had hired.
As mayor, Adams was celebrated for creating miles of new bike-friendly streets, championing a free TriMet bus pass for a Portland Public School, advocating for union employees, and slashing the city’s diesel emissions. He was also the last (and, maybe, only) Portland mayor to fire a police officer for shooting and killing an unarmed Portlander. (That officer, however, was rehired two years later).
Adams had first hinted at a run for City Council last week, after Commissioner Nick Fish’s mid-term death left an open seat in City Hall. Adams decision to face off against Eudaly—and five other candidates—in the race for City Commissioner, Position 4 gives him a smaller window of time to campaign, but it promises a complete four-year term.