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slides: Former Mayor Sam Adams to Leave Portland for Job in D.C.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

 

Sam Adams via Wikimedia CC

Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams will leave his position as the executive director of the City Club of Portland for a new job based in Washington, D.C. Adams has been hired as director of U.S. Climate Initiatives at the World Resources Institute, a global nonprofit dedicated to environmental sustainability. 

Adams' last day at City Club will be Feb. 6th.

Adams, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, held office from Jan. 2009 to Dec. 2012. He was succeeded by the current Mayor of Portland, Charlie Hales. 

The Newport, Ore. native, and University of Oregon alum, served as Portland Mayor Vera Katz's chief of staff for 11 years before taking office as a Portland city commissioner in 2004. 

As mayor, Adams was focused on increasing Portland's high school graduation rates, creating jobs, boosting sustainability, championing gay rights, and fostering the city's burgeoning tech industry and creative community. Under Adams' stewardship, Portland acquired a Major League Soccer franchise and developed a carbon reduction strategy called the Climate Action Plan.

During Adams' eight years as an elected city official, he helped lead efforts that funded and completed innovative transportation projects that tripled the local steetcar system from 4.8 miles to 14.7 miles, expanded bikeways by 75 miles and will have added a total 15 miles to the light rail MAX system when the 7.3 mile MAX Orange Line from Portland State University to Milwaukie opens in Sept. 2015. 

After serving two years as mayor, Adams decided not to run for re-election, although he had a 56 percent approval rate before leaving office. As for why he didn't run again, Adams said he "wanted to finish his agenda," which included efforts on climate change he began during his work with the city.

Soon after his tenure as mayor, he was hired as executive director of the City Club of Portland, a non-profit best known for hosting civic policy debates. 

Over the past two years City Club membership grew by 47 percent and in 2014, City Club completed 15 research projects—its highest numbers since 1984.

Adams has also been a recurring guest star on the IFC show Portlandia as the assistant to a fictional Portland mayor played by Kyle MacLachlan. When asked if he would be willing to continue working on the show while in Washington, he said, "of course," but also said he has given it his all and thinks it might be time to kill off his character. "I think a funny but fatal accident should kill off the mayor's assistant," said Adams. "Or maybe he is abducted by aliens and taken to a secret base in Vancouver, Washington." 

And as for the move to Washington, D.C.?

Adams said, "My partner, Peter Zuckerman, and I haven't figured out the logistics yet," but affirmed that he will continue to keep his legal residence in Oregon.

 

Related Slideshow: Timeline of Sam Adams’ Political Career

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Adams & Peter DeFazio

Sam Adams began his political career in 1986 working as a staffer for Peter DeFazio's campaign for the House of Representatives in Oregon's 4th district. DeFazio won and still holds the position today. 

Photo: Peter DeFazio via Wikimedia CC. 

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Adams & Vera Katz

Adams went on to work for Vera Katz's mayoral campaign. After Katz won and was elected mayor, he served as her chief of staff for 11 years. 

Photo: Vera Katz via Wikimedia CC. 

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Adams Defeats Nick Fish

In 2004 Adams ran against city commissioner Nick Fish for a seat on the Portland City Council. Although Adams received significantly fewer votes than Fish in the primary election, he ultimately defeated Fish in the general election. 

Photo: Nick Fish via Wikimedia CC. 

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Adams Runs for Mayor

In Oct. 2007 Adams announced his plans to run for Portland Mayor. His main opponent was Sho Dozono, a civic leader and businessman.

In the primary election, Adams received 58 percent of the vote and was elected without the need for a run-off. Dozono received 34 percent of the vote.

Photo by Byron Beck 

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First Openly Gay Mayor

When Adams took office on Jan. 1, 2009, Portland became the largest U.S. city to have ever elected an openly gay mayor.

During his inaugural speech he announced his top three priorities as mayor: creating more family-wage jobs, reducing the high school dropout rate, and making Portland more sustainable.

Photo: Sam Adams via Wikimedia CC. 

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Beau Breedlove Scandal

In 2005, Adams met Beau Breedlove, a 17-year-old interning for Oregon State Representative Kim Thatcher. 

In September 2007, Adams denied rumors of a sexual relationship between the two, but in January 2009, after being confronted publicly with the allegations, Adams admitted that he lied about the nature of their sexual relationship to avoid allegations and the disruption of his mayoral campaign.

A criminal investigation on Adams ensued but by June 2009, Attorney General John Kroger announced that no charges would be filed and that there was "no credible evidence" that Adams had inappropriate sexual contact with Breedlove before the age of consent.

Photo: Sam Adams and Beau Breedlove by Byron Beck 

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Achievements as Mayor

As mayor, Adams had a number of achievements:

  • Established curbside composting.
  • Banned single-use plastic bags.
  • Adopted a transgender-inclusive health plan for city employees.
  • Invested $340 million in the city's infrastructure, including a lead City investment to replace the Sellwood Bridge.
  • Recruited several TV and movie companies to do business and spend about $100 million on production in Portland.
  • Established a $2.1 million seed fund to help start-up businesses in Portland.
  • Cracked down on gangs with a 14-month police undercover operation that resulted in the arrests of 31 gang members.

Photo by Byron Beck 

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Adams Goes to City Club

Just 16 days after the end of his term as mayor of Portland, Sam Adams was hired as executive director of the City Club of Portland, a non-profit organization best known as the host of public civic policy meetings.

Adams was selected from a pool of 80 applicants for the position.

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Adams' TV Roles

Adams has had a recurring role on the IFC show Portlandia as assistant to Portland's fictional mayor, played by Kyle MacLachlan. He also appeared as himself in "The Hour of Death", a 2012 episode of the Portland-based NBC show GRIMM.

When asked what he thinks should happen with his role on the show he said he thinks it's time to kill off his character. 

"I think a funny but fatal accident should kill off the mayor's assistant or maybe he should be abducted by aliens and taken to a secret base in Vancouver, Washington." 

Photo: Adams (top left) on Portlandia via tvguide.com

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New Job in D.C.

Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams plans to leave his position as the executive director of the City Club of Portland for a new job based in Washington, D.C.  

Adams has been hired as director of U.S. Climate Initiatives at the World Resources Institute, a global nonprofit dedicated to environmental sustainability. 

 
 

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