PORTLAND, Ore. - Officials in Portland have asked the state attorney general's office to conduct an investigation into the conduct of Portland Mayor Sam Adams following his admission he lied about having sex with a male teenager.
According to a Portland police spokesperson, police Chief Rosie Sizer and Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk asked Attorney General John Kroger to handle the investigation to "assure all Portland residents that the investigation was impartial regardless of the outcome."
Kroger's office later said it would take on the investigation, saying it would be "thorough, fair and professional."
The news comes as an exclusive telephone poll conducted for KATU News showed residents split on whether Adams should resign.
Adams held a press conference Tuesday in which he said his relationship with the 18-year-old was inappropriate and he would continue to apologize for lying about it but had no plans to resign.
The 45-year-old mayor flew back to Portland from Washington D.C. to address the issue after the Willamette Week newspaper broke the story about Adams' untruthfulness Monday afternoon.
The mayor, who was sworn in Jan. 1, has apologized to Portlanders for not coming clean about the issue when it first arose during the infancy of his mayoral campaign in 2007.
The teen, Beau Breedlove, was 17 when Adams first met him in Salem in 2005. Adams said he waited until Breedlove was 18 before dating him. The relationship, which included sex, lasted only a few months, the mayor said.
Rumors later surfaced that Adams had sex with a minor, and the mayor said he initially lied about the relationship because he did not think people would believe the sex occurred when the teen was 18.
Adams also asked Breedlove to lie about the relationship, even though the mayor said the teen urged him to be honest about it.
The issue died down following Adams' denials, and he coasted to victory in November to make Portland the largest U.S. city to ever elect an openly gay mayor.
Despite the scandal, a SurveyUSA telephone poll of 500 adults in Portland conducted for KATU on Tuesday evening showed that 52 percent of Portland residents still approved of the job Sam Adams was doing as mayor while 36 percent disapproved. Twelve percent said they were not sure. SEE THE POLL RESULTS
In addition, 44 percent said he should remain in office while 45 percent said he should resign, with 11 percent not sure. SEE THE POLL RESULTS
Both polls had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
This poll was separate from an informal, unscientific poll on the KATU.com Web site that showed 73 percent - or 4,896 people as of Wednesday morning - said Adams should resign while 27 percent - or 1,774 people as of Wednesday morning - said he should stay in office.
Community reaction mixed
The reaction of colleagues and city employees to the controversy was mixed.
A supporter of Adams in the past, City Commissioner Randy Leonard told KATU Tuesday he thinks an outside agency should investigate whether Adams actually had sex with Breedlove when the younger man was a minor.
"What I am having a hard time with, quite frankly, is that he asked the young man to lie about it," Leonard said. "I can't understand that, and I'm troubled by that."
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Portland Police Association, a union that represents all 900 of the city's uniformed police officers, called for Adams to resign immediately.
Mitch Copp, who spoke on behalf of the group's president, said Adams no longer has any credibility.
On the other hand, newly elected City Commissioner Amanda Fritz came to Adams' defense during his news conference, saying there was not a person in the room who had not made a mistake and tried to cover it up.
If we are honorable, we fess up and we work really hard to make amends, said Fritz, who appeared angry.
Fritz also chided the media, saying attention on the issue was overshadowing the importance of both the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the inauguration of the nation's first black president.
An official with Basic Rights Oregon, a nonprofit gay rights organization, said Adams "exercised poor judgment" but was still worthy of support.
"We continue to have confidence in Sam’s leadership and his vision for the City," said Jeana Frazzini, the group's executive director, in a statement. "Portland needs Mayor Adams to stay in office and keep working for our city.”