Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland, Oregon's mayor got caught up in a sex scandal. It hasn't led him to govern modestly.
Sam Adams may be off to the worst start of any American politician since President William Henry Harrison. While Adams didn't catch a fatal case of pneumonia at his inauguration, as Harrison did, he managed to get caught up in a sex scandal just three weeks after becoming mayor of Portland, Oregon, this past January.
Few Portlanders seemed to care that Adams and Beau Breedlove, with whom he had a tryst in 2005, were both men. What they did care about was that the relationship began around Breedlove's 18th birthday--and that Adams had lied about it during his campaign. After the scandal broke, the state attorney general began an investigation to determine whether Adams had had sex with a minor. The major newspaper in Portland, the Oregonian, said the mayor should resign. Instead, he apologized and stayed on. That has left Portland waiting for two things: The AG's report, which could come out in days or weeks, and July 1, when opponents can begin collecting recall signatures.
The problems haven't led Adams to govern modestly. He's called for a new 12-lane bridge to Washington State, a $200 million convention center hotel and new or renovated stadiums for baseball and soccer. He seems to want to show that he is a strong mayor whose departure would be a loss for the city. But only one thing seems relatively certain at this point: Adams is too stubborn to leave without being forced out of office.
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