Mayor Sam Adams says he'll not seek re-election

Mayor Sam Adams says he'll not seek re-election »Play Video
Portland Mayor Sam Adams talks live on KATU News Friday afternoon about his decision not to run again.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Mayor Sam Adams, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city whose first term in office was overshadowed by his admittance of a pre-election lie regarding a relationship with a young male intern, says he will not seek a second term as mayor.

The announcement came early Friday afternoon in a portlandonline.com blog post title "Portland's future - and mine," Adams talked about his political history in Portland, his accomplishments as mayor and the current political climate.

He said his decision came after a scheduled week-long “stay-cation.”

During a live interview on KATU News just after 4 p.m., Adams said running again would take too much time away from governing.

"(With) the state of the nation and the work to be done here in Portland, I think Portland needs a full-time mayor as opposed to a half-time mayor that is a full-time candidate," he said.

He said he wants to focus all his energy on the projects that are important to the city and that he has been working on as mayor. Those include creating jobs, upping the rates of high school graduation, reducing the city’s gun violence and its sustainability issues.

"That's what I focused on as mayor, that's what I’m going to focus on for the next 17 months, and that is what I believe Portland needs," he said.

He said his thoughts on whether he'd run again was several months in the making, but his final decision didn't come until he could focus on the issue during his vacation.

He did not directly address whether his past controversies had anything to do with his decision; instead, he reiterated his desire to do what's best for the city.

Just days after Adams was sworn in as mayor, the Beau Breedlove scandal broke and Adams had to admit he lied about his 2005 relationship with the then 18-year-old. While Breedlove was 17 when they met, both say their relationship did not become sexual until after Breedlove turned 18.

After an investigation, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger said there wasn't credible evidence that Adams had sex with Breedlove before the age of consent.

Adams survived calls for his immediate resignation, but the scandal reverberated through his tenure. He blamed personal financial difficulties on the legal bills he ran up, missing mortgage payments on his home and rental properties.

While he believes he could win re-election, Adams did acknowledge that polling data showed it was going to be a close race.

He said he's not ready to offer any endorsements to any mayoral candidates. He first wants to sit down with candidates and discuss the city's issues and their goals for the city before making an official endorsement.

Two candidates running to replace Adams are former City Commissioner Charlie Hales and businesswoman Eileen Brady.

“Mayor Adams did the right thing, both for Portland and for his own future and I respect that,” said Hales. “Now the question is who's got the experience both in the private sector and in government to step in and take things forward. And I've put myself forward as a candidate because I think I have the right combination of experience.”

"Thank you to Sam for all of his years of service,” Brady said. “He's made a huge commitment to the community and I appreciate it. So, I do think this is the time for new ideas, new leadership (and) a fresh start for Portland."

KATU.com web producer Bill Roberson and KATU News reporters Emily Sinovic and Thom Jensen contributed to this report as well as The Associated Press.

Watch the live interview with Adams below: