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I think the Oregonian editorial got it right when they said it was not just Adams being caught in a lie, but that he was so sanctimonious in his denials and so vicious in trying to discredit the source -- something he still won't apologize for. That type of aggressive hypocrisy is dangerous in a politician, in my opinion.


One important difference I've seen noted between this case and President Clinton, is that Clinton lied under oath to a court judge. Adams lied to media. If you were in the middle of an election, would you potentially lie to the media about a part of your personal life, which you felt there was nothing wrong with (if Breedlove was 18, and evidence suggests he was, there was nothing legally wrong with it), if you knew that public reaction to it could create a huge scandal? I think you might at least be sorely tempted. I think it's also important to point out that the political rival who Adams "smeared" in his denials was also bringing up this relationship in hopes of smearing Adams.

I don't know... I feel like Adams definitely should have just admitted at the beginning - however, I think really in considering the situation as objectively as I'm able, I believe that he will still make a fantastic mayor for Portland, and I sincerely hope that he doesn't step down.

We have such a self-righteous attitude towards our politicians in America, and while I understand that we expect those in leadership to be of strong character, I feel like in America, we often feel like they should either be perfect, or perfect at hiding what we don't agree with, and if anything bad comes out, we feel disillusioned and jaded, and it just seems like a ridiculous game of charades to me. He's human, and he lied about a fact that would have been inconvenient for him in the election (while not posing any problems legally, it would have posed problems in peoples' perception). How many other politicians which people have come to love can you think of who could just as easily have lied about details of their lives which, while being completely legal, would have caused a problem in peoples' perception of them? Probably every single one that has ever existed.

I'm behind Sam and I hope that he has a wonderful career as Portland Mayor.


The simple truth is - America can't shake it's puritan roots and the lies are just a part of it....

Just like the long dragged out Clinton affair - I'm so annoyed by the resulting tizzy.

I'm glad he lied. I hope he stays.
He may be reckless, but I want our city leader to have high crazy aspirations, we've got plenty of bureaucracy to hold him down.


ohh - i don't mean aspirations of sleeping with teens ! just good big ideas.


Who cares? it is not as if he is a priest or an evangelical neo-con leader. If we want normal people, people who accurately reflect the communities they serve, then we are going to have to put up with some imperfection. It was not unlawful to have a sexual relationship with someone over 18 in Oregon. Its not something which effects job performance, unless you let it. These silly DIVERSIONS are precisely what Obama labored against through his entire campaign. they only serve to obscure real problems and issues. sexy as the story may be, we have to take seriously more important matters which effect us all. Climate change, sprawl, oversight... these are things Sam Adams does which Sally Smith in NE portland, not some years past tryst with a young man.


Thank you Brian for the most thoughtful response I've seen.

I too am disappointed, hurt and angry. What Sam did is unbecoming, disheartening and saddening. There's not a single thing about Sam's choices that I condone. Yet witnessing the craziness of the media these past few days, I have seen what drove Sam to lie come true--what was a personal and private mistake became public spectacle.

Sam is a public official who showed piss poor judgment in his private life. And he lied to protect this public life. He ought to stand for this. I believe he is. But in my 3+ years of working for Sam, I believe that his skills as mayor are sorely needed. I believe that his commitment to Portland is uncompromised. I believe his integrity is bruised, but nothing that I'm not willing to see rebuilt.

And he is still my mayor.

If he's yours, there are things you can do:

There's a rally Friday, 1/23 @ 5:30pm in front of city hall. That's the single best thing you can do to support him.

Visit: http://samisstillmymayor.blogspot.com/.

On facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=46090272767&ref=nf

Tell your friends.



Brian, thank you for participating in the discussion. Although I don't currently live in Portland I consider it my home. If the Attorney General finds no laws were broken I hope we "all" can move on. I know there are "saints with self proclaimed pure hearts??" walking amongst us who want to see the fall of the current mayor. I have yet to meet anyone, in my long life, who has not made mistakes...especially when sex is thrown into the mix.

When are we, as Oregonians and Americans, going to stop being so puritanical and judgemental....?

It is in our capacity to forgive. Hopefully Sam will be cleared so that he feels he can continue his plans for the city in an effective manner. If the findings of the Attorney General support Mayor Adams I hope the citizens of Portland give him the opportunity to be a productive mayor.

Thanks, again, for taking the time to compose a "non architectural" themed column that expresses my feelings and thoughts so clearly.


I have to agree, he did not lie under oath, he was a single man with someone of age, and it is his personal sex life. I dont know of many people who would be willing to talk to a newspaper or any public outlet about every sexual detail of their life.

If I were in that same situation and didnt wish something in my sex life to be brought into the public light, I would probably deny it as well. When this came up, it was clear that it was meant to be used as a political weapon and nothing else.

I hope he stays our mayor because he has proven over his political career that he truly cares about this city and wishes it to evolve into the best city it can be. That is the reason why I voted for him, that is the reason why I want him to stay in office, and that is the reason why I will vote for him in his next election.

Brooks Jordan

Thanks for working through those questions, Brian. We can all learn from this.


Brian, this is a really thoughtful and honestly written piece. Thanks.

Of course Adams broke a law. He may have broken more than one

There is a similarity between this and the Bill Clinton scandal.

Clinton abused his power. Regardless of the intern in that case being of the age of consent, she was staff. That made the relationship one to avoid, even without the complicating fact of Clinton being married at the time.

But however morally wrong you want to call it, it was not against the law. Lying to the grand jury was, which is why the opposition railroaded him into that testimony -- specifically to catch him the lie.

Adams' relationship with Breedlove (is that his real name, btw?) is not our concern at all unless a law was broken. We should really think about whether or not we want to start parsing which laws are ok to break and which are not.

Personally, given the poor options we have for mayor I can pretty easily forgive a sex scandal of this nature. It is very different from the despicable and unforgivable gross abuse of a young teen in the Goldschmidt case.

The real reason Adams has lost trust is because he broke a far more serious law in instructing others to lie on his behalf. This stands apart from all the other issues and I find it unforgiveable.


Thanks Brian. That was a refreshing point of view in contrast to the more caustic discussions happening elsewhere.

I didn't vote for Adams but I really feel bad him having to endure the lynch mob mentality out there. Hopefully Portland can move on quickly from this distraction.

Leslie Carlson

Brian, I really appreciate your perspective. I too am troubled--and angry--that Sam appears to have squandered, at least somewhat, his bright promise. But I'm also mindful that there are things in my past that I may well have lied about if I were to embark on a campaign.

The rush to judgement is always so quick. I can only hope that cooler minds prevail as we all work through this together.


Mr. Breedlove’s age is not an issue IF you believe Sam. I did not believe Sam before his recent admission and I was correct. I still suspect he had a sexual relationship with a minor, which is a serious crime and I have not seen any evidence to the contrary.


At this critical time when Portlanders need to assure the Federal Government that the City of Portland can manage any new federal stimulus projects we attract, we have a crisis of trust and confidence hanging over our city’s new leader.

It is too bad Mr. Adams did not admit to this relationship when it first surfaced, then Portlanders could have had a fully informed election. Now the citizens cannot recall the Mayor for six months, and the state and others have started investigations into Sam Adams’ actions. During these potentially lengthy investigations, our city leaders will be distracted and our city’s reputation will further suffer. With the economic crisis creating a critical need for strong trustworthy leadership, it is too risky to wait to resolve this issue.

Pease resign Mr. Adams and clear Portland of this dark cloud of mistrust and uncertainly you have created.


Thank you, Brian, for one of the most balanced and well thought out responses to the scandal I have so far encountered. I was a fervent supporter of Sam, and I find myself very upset with him. However, I cannot believe that this undoes the credibility he's gained with me and the city of Portland during his years of public service. It's a deep moral offense, but not one worthy of resignation, in my opinion.


Brian, you said this about the Just Out call for Adams to resign: "There's so much discrimination against gays and lesbians anyway that they can't afford to be associated with this kind of ethical lapse."

Did you mean Just Out couldn't afford it, or all gays and lesbians? If you meant Just Out, frankly, I don't see how any association could make them look any worse than they already do. It's a horrible paper. I'm gay, and I've thought that ever since I moved here as a teenager. I think it is the height of poor judgment on their part to call for Adams to resign - though it didn't surprise me in the least.

As for gays and lesbians, we're rallying around Adams, at least the younger set are (the one's who don't read Just Out). Of course we hope to high heaven that the kid was actually 18, and everyone acknowledges that it was a massively stupid thing to do. But here's what Just Out needs to realize - you don't give up on your friends and allies when they need you most. Marty Davis at Just Out is so offended that he lied to her and her paper. Who the hell is she? Why does she need to know any of it? Why do any of us?


Until we have a more enlightened and open view of sex and relationships, people from all backgrounds will continue to lie about what they are doing behind closed doors. Unless Adams did something illegal, I don't see why anyone would consider asking him to step down.

Information resource

Brian Libby, aren't you related to Lisa Libby, who is in question in this investigation for conspiring with Mayor Adams in the cover up? Lisa Libby works for Sam Adams and was responsible for hiring Amy Ruiz, the former Portland Mercury reporter who is being accused of the cover up. Nice way to pretend you have no relation, and that your opinion is unbiased

Brian Libby

'Information resource', I'm glad you brought this up, because I meant to address this previously: Lisa Libby and I are not in any way related. I'd never heard of her before this scandal broke. But I'm appreciative of your not rushing to any assumptions or judgment.

Common Sense

A simple polygraph should clear up the statutory rape issue and it would be a lot quicker and less expensive than a recall. If Sam is worried Portlanders don't believe him.


I love how many people are so quick to judge and say someone should step down...I am guessing those who say that are more than willing to talk to a paper about every sexual relationship they ever had.


Hmmn.. where's a married Republican dressing in drag and screwing in a video arcade when you need one.. At least this "scandal" merely involved two people and was consentual.


I've been reading about this entire ridiculous "scandal" and I just want to know - whats the big deal? A single man has sex with another adult. Both are consenting adults.

True, he lied to a bunch of meddling reporters during a "high stakes" political campaign, when one of his rivals - Bob Ball - whom has been described as also having a string of 20-year old gay lovers - accused him of statutory rape.

Now, the question I have is... does it really matter? Brian Libby, since we all read your architecture blog, how can we trust you unless WE know whom YOU are fucking? Seriously. This is a joke, right? Are we still sexually oppressed Protestant peasants or something?

By the way, the American infidelity rate is 41%. I think we're all hypocrites.


If this were merely about someone lying about their personal sex life, I think we wouldn't be here. This is Portland, we're fairly liberal with the privacy of a person's personal life. We voted a gay man into office for goodness sakes, something none of the other top 30 largest cities have been willing to do.

But Adams repeatedly suggested that Ball was attempting to capitalize on homophobia to further his own political ambitions. That's tantamount to playing 'the race card' - as a gay man it insults me to think Adams portrayed this as his being victimized by someone who wanted to play on stereotypes of older gay men praying on young men.

Where's Adams credibility now on the real discrimination that LGBT Americans face?

Also there's a question about his hiring of a reporter - who dropped the story during the election - into a central planning position with the city, even though she had no planning experience. Is this innocent or is something fishy going on? Unfortunately when you lie, it brings into question your defense of anything else that seems questionable.

And the whole thing really sullies his support for mentoring of teens as well, something he has strongly advocated for and clings to as having helped him get through some pretty tough years when he had as a teen. Then he uses 'mentoring' to cover a lie about sex with a teen he came into contact with as a politician.

And the young man was counseled by Adams to lie for him. I could tolerate someone caught in a lie of their own making far more than I can of that person pressuring someone to lie for him.

Adams should resign.


If the media is asking about sexual relations, the path to a positive outcome is quite slim, regardless of the circumstances. There's dirt on all of us, no doubt...and I challenge anyone to suspend their right to privacy in the public eye.

So, let's move on, people. Shows over. Sam's deeply sorry, and that's clear. But we as a city will be even more sorry if we allow this story to eclipse the real work that needs to get done.


First, the Amy Ruiz hiring really concerns me--possibly spending our tax dollars to hire someone to cover this up. That is really bad. I also can't say I really believe Breedlove was 18 when they were having sex. I don't think Sam would have covered it up unless there was something illegal going on. Maybe an investigation will put that to bed (ahem.)Who knows. But whether 17 or 18 or 19--seriously, sane and respectable adults--whether straight, gay or otherwise do not have sex with teenagers. For example, if a male 40 year old coach of a girls high school team slept with a 17/18 year old on his team there will be an outcry--especially if he encouraged her to lie and maybe spent public tax dollars to hire someone else in order to keep them quite. At the least, he'd lose his job! Most Portlanders calling for Sam's resignation don't want to be the sex police and aren't "Bible thumpers"--they just want to know that they can trust their elected officials and that their elected official show good judgment.


This is undoubtedly unfortunate. However, from a planning, development, and architectural prospective I think that Sam Adams brings the most positive ideas and potential to Portland. I want to see his vision fulfilled, but I’m afraid this event may have put his strong reserve of political capital in the red. Portland politicians will be less inclined to work with him and there will be an aspect in which opposing him will seem appropriate and politically necessary. Hopefully he can work through this taint (the collective memory of the polis is alarmingly short), but it will take time and a hundred good works to overcome this one bad. I worry that this event will slow down the positive change and development that we all voted so enthusiastically for.

The main piece of the story that gave me pause is the Amy Ruiz hiring. I remember when that job was posted. It sounded amazing and exciting. I knew very qualified people with advanced planning degrees and experience locally and abroad who were considering the position very seriously. The person was to be hired to represent the exact types of interests of the people on this blog (bold, smart, and sustainable urban planning and development). I even remember reading in the Mercury that Ms. Ruiz had been hired by the mayor. I never put the two together until this event unfolded. If the allegations are true, then this spells a very poor and disillusioning moment for the architectural community. If the long term planning aspects of our city were subjugated to the immediate political needs of our mayor, then we have been thrown under the bus.

Let’s hope not.

Still hopeful that the ideas of Mr. Adams will be fulfilled…


good bye Sam - bring in Sho. If an old 40 plus year old turd hit up on an 18 y/o cream puff, then i am SURE the same outrage - so the stop picking on the gay inequity is pretty weak. the reality is this guy used his position to take advantage of a temptation. he lied, he apologized, but who cares. he had a weak platform to begin with. remember all designers - he wants the burnside couch couplet how can you accept this as a good decision making other than pandering. Good bye SAM.


I've been saddened by this whole 'affair'. For me, if Sam waited until the kid was 18, please stick around. If he couldn't wait, I think he may have told one too many lies to get past it. And one editorial comment on our media: with everything else going on in the world and our local world, don't you have many other more important and constructive things you can be doing with your time and energy and limited funds? I've lost some respect for all the local press in this feeding frenzy and jumping to conclusions or playing both sides of the fence. And I think we actually have some of the better papers in the country, just a bit less so now.

John T

Brian, I feel the same way you do about this, and I think you've done a good job of expressing my conflicted reactions to this mess. As a gay man I feel extra disappointed since I was naively hoping Sam Adams could be a good role model (blame my hopey feelings on Obama, I suppose), but it turns out that he's just as shady as any other politician out there.
Just Out doesn't speak for me; I hope (there's that word again) that Adams stands his ground and stays in office.


I have a mix of feelings that mirror Brian. What I DON'T feel is that Adam's should resign. Let him go back to work, close this deal with Vesta, see how he performs in upcoming six months, and WE make a decision at that time if a recall campaign is worth the effort.

I think by the time July roles around people will be thinking they jumped on the bandwagon a little too quickly.


Exactly what ground should Sam Adams take a stand on? Whether or not what he did was criminal it was unethical. That's why he couldn't show up for his gig talking to students about Ethics in Govt. yesterday. You can say you disagree with the city's Code of Ethics -- but then how would you change it? It is a slippery slope to say you think a politician should not be held to a certain standard because you agree with their political agenda -- but use that standard to skewer someone whose agenda you don't agree with.
Sam Adams has no claim to any moral high ground which is the only one to take a stand on. He should take responsibility for his actions and take some time doing something else.
There are many intelligent, progressive, creative and energetic people in Portland and Adams should step aside and let someone else lead for now.

Grant Morehead

"Information resource"...I notice you didn't call yourself "informed resource"

You find 2 people with identical yet unremarkable surnames, and assume a collusion between them. I heard their uncle Lewis was accused of war crimes; do you want to add him to your shit list?

The untold tragedy in this saga is the people who have dedicated their careers to Sam, who are now hanging on thin ice due to his obfuscation. Lisa Libby, Tom Miller, Amy Ruiz...none of them deserve this. And all Portlanders are going to pay for it, regardless of what happens now.


Please get out of bed and stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's time to start being the mayor of Portland -



actually jorge, Sam was scheduled to be out of town for much of the week before all this happened, he only took Friday off from work. I dont think he is feeling sorry for himself, I think he has a big decision in front of him, which I like many others, hopes he chooses to stay.

His plan for what he wants to see happen with Portland needs to happen, we need a mayor with a direction and there has yet to be anyone else besides Sam to show any direction. We all are aware of how much of a waste of time Potter turned out to be.

Eric Berg


I echo those who recognize your post as one of the most thoughtful and balanced pieces on this mess since the story broke.

Adams resigning then running to be his replacement is something I've been thinking about, too. It seems to be the best way for Portland to resolve this and go forward. What happens happens.

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