This is a surreal day. While I watched our new President’s moving inaugural speech this morning, it took all of my focus to not keep thinking about the big story I’d heard about the night before involving our leader here in Portland, Mayor Sam Adams.
In case you haven’t heard, yesterday afternoon Adams admitted to the Willamette Week’s Nigel Jaquiss (the same reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his investigative reporting on a scandal involving Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt) that he lied about a relationship with former intern Beau Breedlove.
I won’t go into detail on the story, but I did want to share my thoughts and give you an opportunity to express how this news makes you feel.
This morning I noticed a thread on the Portland Bike Forums titled, Concerns over Adams. In that thread, forum member K’Tesh wrote, “My fears are that cycling projects will suffer for this.”
Also in that thread, regular forum member Attornatus_Oregonensis wrote:
“I don’t like being lied to. I suspect many Portlanders feel that way. I just lost a lot of respect for the man. And I wonder whether all the promises he made about improving bike-related infrastructure were lies also, told to get elected. You know, just like Potter.”
Adams personal affairs are not our business, but I can’t ignore the reality as expressed in A_O’s comment above. Adams’ admission has hurt his credibility with many people in this city. How much? Will he be able to serve and accomplish as much as we hoped?
It is too early to tell what exactly will be the result of all this, but it is clear that it’s a major blow for Adams at a time when the excitement and optimism about his tenure was at an all-time high.
I realize this isn’t about bikes, but I’ve covered Adams a lot on these pages over the years, and I feel I like this is something I needed to share.
I plan to attend the press conference at City Hall in a few hours and I will report back what I hear.
What do you think about all this?
Do you think this loss of credibility will hurt his ability to accomplish the bold things we all know he has planned for biking?
Adams sent out this public statement yesterday:
I want to publicly acknowledge a mistake I have made and I want to apologize for it.
In the past, I have characterized my relationship with Beau Breedlove as purely non-sexual. That is not true. Beau Breedlove and I had a sexual relationship for a few months in the summer of 2005 after he turned 18 years of age.
I should have been honest at the time about the true nature of my relationship with Beau Breedlove when questions about my relationship with him first surfaced publicly in October 2007. In fact, Beau encouraged me to be honest about the facts of our relationship. I am deeply sorry that I asked him to lie for me.
I lied at the time because I was afraid that people would believe untrue rumors, being circulated by an undeclared mayoral opponent, that I had broken a law involving sexual relations with a minor. But this is not a good excuse.
Until today, with the exception of Beau, I have not discussed with anyone the true nature of my relationship with him: not with my colleagues, staff, friends or family.
I apologize to Beau for asking him to lie for me. I apologize to my colleagues for my poor handling of this matter. I apologize to the people of Portland for my dishonesty. I should have been truthful from the beginning.
Mayor Sam Adams