Template:Infobox Politician Template:Otherpeople

Sam Adams is a city council member and mayor-elect of Portland, Oregon. In 2004 he was elected to the Portland City Council, defeating attorney Nick Fish. He won the race for Mayor of Portland in the May 2008 election,[1][2] and will be the first openly gay mayor in the city's history.[3]

Early life and career Edit

Adams was born in 1963, when his family lived on a ranch eight miles outside of Whitehall, Montana. At the age of two, his family moved to Richland, Washington for a year, and then on to Newport, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon, where his parents got divorced. Adams lived with his mother, who survived for a time on food stamps.[4] His mother could not find work in Eugene and moved to Portland, whilst Adams stayed in Eugene and lived on his own throughout most of his high school years. He graduated high school and attended the University of Oregon.[4]

Adams began his career in politics as a staffer on Peter DeFazio's 1986 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Oregon's 4th district.[4] DeFazio won the race and still serves to this day.

He then worked on Vera Katz's mayoral campaign in Portland and served 11 years as her Chief of Staff.[5]

City Council Edit

In a 2004 election for a seat on the Portland City Council, Adams won significantly fewer votes than rival Nick Fish in the primary election, but defeated Fish in the general election. Following the primary, Adams shifted campaign managers and tactics from a focus on traditional fundraising to grassroots outreach. Adams appeared in the news by standing on street corners waving at citizens with a sign that read, "Honk for the Wonk." The sign was a response to Fish, who dismissed Adams as a "wonk" who knew too much about local government.[citation needed]

File:Sam Adams Portland2.jpg

Adams is Portland's Commissioner of Public Utilities; he runs the Portland Office of Transportation (commonly abbreviated as "PDOT") and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES). He also serves as Portland City Council's liaison to the Arts and Culture and Small Business communities. As part of managing PDOT, he inherited the responsibility to oversee development of the Portland Aerial Tram, one of the world's few urban aerial trams. It links the South Waterfront district to the upper campus of Oregon Health & Science University. During its development, the project was plagued with controversy due to poor cost estimates. When Adams assumed responsibility for PDOT and, consequently, control of the project, he replaced the external consultants responsible for the poor cost estimates with in-house expertise. The project was completed on time and revised budget, and is fully operational. It opened to the public on January 27, 2007.

Adams and his staff maintain a blog highlighting their activities in the community, especially pertaining to Adams' priorities such as arts & culture, livability & environment, and transportation.[6]

Mayoral campaign Edit

On October 3, 2007, Adams announced his intentions to run for Mayor of Portland.[7] He officially kicked off his campaign at the Wonder Ballroom in Northeast Portland on February 26, 2008.[8] His main opponent in that race was Sho Dozono, a civic leader and businessman, although in total thirteen candidates filed for mayor.

The primary election was held on May 20,2008. Despite the large field, Adams captured 58 percent of the vote and was therefore elected without the need for a run-off in November.[9] His nearest opponent, Sho Dozono, captured just 34 percent of the vote.[2] Adams will take office in January 2009.

Personal life Edit

Adams is the first openly gay member of Portland's City Council;[10] his partner is award-winning journalist Peter Zuckerman.[11] When Adams takes office in January 2009, Portland will become the largest U.S. city to have ever elected an openly gay mayor.[9] With approximately 570,000 residents, it is more than three times the size of Providence, Rhode Island, the next largest.


  1. "Adams wins Portland mayor race", The Oregonian, 2008-05-21. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Multnomah County: May 20, 2008 primary election results
  3. Manning, Rob. "Portland Hardly Noticed, But The Rest Of The Nation Did", OPB News, 2008-05-21. Retrieved on 2008-05-21. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sam Adams for Mayor: biography.
  5. Griffin, Anna (2008-03-28). Who are you, Sam I Am?. The Oregonian. Retrieved on 2008-03-28.
  6. Commissioner Adams' blog
  7. Mayer, James (2007-10-03). Sam Adams says he's running for Portland mayor. The Oregonian. Retrieved on 2008-03-28.
  8. Sam Adams for Mayor
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Portland elects its first openly gay mayor", KGW, 2008-05-21. 
  10. Frank, Ryan. "Council peers support Adams' fight", The Oregonian, 2007-02-21. 
  11. "Gossip should have no friends", Willamette Week, 2008-05-21. 

External linksEdit

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