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Portland mayor back at work in City Hall
Portland Mayor Sam Adams strolled into City Hall Monday, business as usual, a week after confessing that he had lied about having a sexual relationship with a teenager. He didn't miss a beat, didn't stop to chat.
The Associated Press
PORTLAND — Mayor Sam Adams strolled into City Hall Monday, business as usual, a week after confessing that he had lied about having a sexual relationship with a teenager.
"Good morning, everybody," he said to the reporters who rushed to meet him at the doors.
"Happy to be back," he said. "Ready to get to work."
He didn't miss a beat, didn't stop to chat.
When a reporter tried to ask him about the most recent news reports, he didn't bite.
"I'm happy to answer questions about city business," he said. Then he slipped into the City Council chamber, where he spent the next two hours discussing a bridge project.
It was his first day at work in City Hall after spending much of last week in seclusion and considering whether to resign.
The police union and four Portland newspapers had called for his resignation, but Adams found strong support to remain, including a Friday rally at City Hall that drew more than 400 backers.
After meetings with council members on Saturday, Adams announced Sunday that he would stick around.
"Tomorrow, I go back (to) work as your mayor. I know I have let you down and made mistakes. I ask your forgiveness," Adams said in a statement. "I believe I have a lot to offer the city I love during this time of important challenges."
At City Hall Monday, the situation seemed to have calmed.
Two men stood outside, holding signs that said the mayor should resign. They were gone by the time the council meeting had ended.
Last week's events didn't come up during the meeting, a joint session of the City Council and the regional Metro Council to discuss a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.
"It's delightful to be getting back to city business," said Commissioner Amanda Fritz afterward.
Commissioner Randy Leonard had cooler words.
As a friend and ally, Leonard defended Adams in 2007 when reports of the affair surfaced and Adams denied them.
Leonard said Monday he felt betrayed on a "very personal level," a feeling that only grew over the weekend as more details about Adam's relationship with Beau Breedlove emerged.
Breedlove told The Oregonian that he and Adams did not have sex until he turned 18, the legal age of consent in Oregon, but Adams had twice kissed him while he was still 17 years old.
"I'm going to be professional, and I'm going to focus on my responsibilities," Leonard said.
Cool relationships with the commissioners could sidetrack Adams' agenda, given the city's form of government in which the mayor has just one of five equal votes on the council.
Going forward, the mayor's will be a game of negotiation, said Bill Lunch, a political-science professor at Oregon State University.
"The mayor met independently with each of the other city commissioners. What he was trying to do there, I rather strongly suspect, is to try and mend fences," Lunch said. "I would imagine there was probably some back and forth, probably some quid pro quo."
Despite talk about a recall election, Lunch said, one is unlikely.
First, he said, petitions couldn't be circulated until June.
"The attention will have waned on this," Lunch said. "Other scandals will have come along, there will be divorces among celebrities."
Second, a group would have to spend thousands of dollars collecting signatures and then hundreds of thousands more campaigning against Adams.
Even then, Lunch said any group or coalition had better be confident that the public will vote to remove Adams.
"If you try to recall him and fail, he will not be happy, and he will still be mayor," Lunch said. "He will make sure there are consequences for you."
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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