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Mayor Sam Adams announces he will not seek re-election (now with audio from Willamette Week)

Sam Adams

In a press release issued today by the Mayor’s office Sam Adams has said that he will not be running for re-election, turning the 2012 race into wide open contest.  After a soul-searching staycation Adams has come to believe that this choice is better for both the city of Portland and for him personally. He acknowledges that it would be a tough race, though not un-winnable, saying that it would take away too much time from making the city a better place while he is still in office. He also takes some time out to point out what he has done for the city, and to thank those who have helped him along the way.

Adams has not endorsed any other candidate, although two have already thrown their hats in the ring, New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady and former city commissioner Charlie Hales. Last week Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen announced that he will not enter the Portland mayoral race, ending months of speculation.

Despite the many trials and tribulations of Sam’s time as chief Portlander I gotta say I will miss having a big gay bike rider in the big city seat.

You can read the entire press release after the break and listen to Adams talking with Willamette Week in the podcast player below.

Dear Portlander,

I am finishing a long-scheduled, and much appreciated, week-long “staycation.” I hope you, too, are enjoying our long-awaited return of the sunshine. I have used my time off to reflect on the needs of our city, and how I can best serve Portlanders. I am writing to let you know my future plans.

Each day I have worked in Portland City Hall—starting as Mayor Vera Katz’s Chief of Staff, then as a City Commissioner and now as your Mayor—I have been challenged, exhilarated, and most of all honored by the opportunity to serve my fellow Portlanders and help shape the future of our city. We have done great things together.

Since I took office as Mayor, we’ve put nearly 2,000 people back to work under the city’s first Economic Development Strategy in 15 years. We reined in City spending early, and have used the budget savings to help those—like the jobless and small business owners—hit hardest by the recession. We’ve made smart investments to expand summer education programs and offer college scholarships to help thousands of students graduate high school. We’ve laid the groundwork to ensure that every Portlander has access to arts and arts education. We’ve implemented a 360-degree anti-gang violence strategy, and approved tougher laws on illegal guns and drugs. With our Climate Action Plan and initiatives like Clean Energy Works Oregon, we have reduced our green house gas emissions.

We have made these changes by creating or invigorating community partnerships, like the new Cradle to Career education partnership, the emerging Portland Plan Partners Council, and the reorganized Planning and Sustainability Commission. These community- and business-based partnerships for change will endure, regardless of who holds positions of leadership in the public and private sector.

Making progress in this manner—progress that is accountable, resilient, and ever-improving—is the reason that I entered public service. We have a lot more work to do, which brings me squarely to my future plans.

I am under no illusion of how challenging the race for re-election would be. I’ve been in tough elections before; nobody thought I could win my city council race in 2004. But I believe for me to win re-election as mayor, I would need to fundraise and campaign full-time, starting now.

As I have considered the reality of a possible re-election effort, I have come to the conclusion that I have a choice: Move this agenda forward, or campaign full-time for re-election.

With the state of our nation in such flux, and so many local issues needing focused and hands-on mayoral leadership, for me, the choice is clear.

My best service to Portland will be to complete the platform of change and improvement you elected me to deliver: Creating jobs, increasing the high school graduation rate, and making Portland the most sustainable city, with the most equal of opportunities. This work is well underway, and I’m committed to making every day of the next 17 months count. Thus, I will not seek re-election.

Each day—supported by my partner, Peter, and my family—I wake up feeling blessed to have the opportunity to serve as your mayor. It is, without a doubt, the best job in the world.

It’s also a job I cannot do alone. I want to thank my staff, who bring an unparalleled passion for this city to their work each and every day. I’d also like to thank my council colleagues, who have shared in this vision for a better Portland, and have helped us realize it. And I want to thank our community, business, non-profit, education, and faith community partners, without whom we could not have accomplished this much.

Mostly, I want to thank you.

Onward,
Sam Adams
Mayor

4 comments to Mayor Sam Adams announces he will not seek re-election (now with audio from Willamette Week)

  • Leo Schuman

    Thank you, Sam, for doing a far better job as mayor than your predecessor, and many others besides him. I voted for you as my mayor, and would do so again. I believe any gay man – if being honest with himself – could sympathize with the struggles you’ve faced. No one can fully judge you without having personally faced the glare and microphones as you did.

    I admire you for choosing to focus on the city’s needs over the next 17 months, rather than play the fundraising game. Portland will be better for your decision, even though many of us would gladly support your re-election, and agree that the election would be difficult, but winnable.

  • Mike Barber via Facebook

    I wouldn’t either. Now what will Marty Davis bitch about? I am sure she’ll find another male to hate..

  • Ah Mike, I love all God’s children. Even the rude ones.