It’s official: Mayor Wheeler adds Sam Adams to his team

Sam Adams at a Safe Routes to School event in north Portland in 2010.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Former Portland mayor and transportation commissioner Sam Adams is back.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has confirmed a strong hunch we shared earlier this month that Adams would be added to his staff.

In a statement published today, Wheeler said Adams will serve as his director of strategic innovations and, “lead work on key second-term policy priorities.”

“Sam’s knowledge of Portland City Hall and his track record of action and getting things done is much welcomed,” Mayor Wheeler said. “He’s innovative, smart and energetic. He will play an important role in advancing my second term priorities.”


Adams in 2020.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Wheeler added that those priorities include, “Reducing homelessness and the impacts of street camping, cleaning up garbage and graffiti, improving public safety and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession it has caused.”

Adams ran for a city commissioner spot in 2020 and finished third behind Chloe Eudaly and eventual winner Mingus Mapps. After spending nearly two decades at City Hall — first as a staffer and then as commissioner and mayor — Adams was director of the City Club of Portland and the World Resources Institute, a climate action think tank based in Washington DC.

During his time as commissioner and mayor, Adams was a major champion of bicycling and transportation issues. His mayoral tenure was marred by scandal in January 2009 when he admitted to lying about a relationship with Beau Breedlove, a young legislative intern who Adams had worked with.

Adams will start his new job on Monday, February 1st.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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