Surprise decision means 2012 Portland mayor's race is wide open

Mayor Sam Adams announced be will not run for re-election Friday afternoon.

Adams made the surprise announcement on his City Hall website.

In his message to Portlanders, Adams said pressing federal, state and city issues made it impossible for him to complete his agenda and campaign for re-election at the same time.

The announcements means the 2012 mayor's race is now wide open. Existing candidates include New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady, former Commissioner Charlie Hales and community college student Max Brumm. State Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-47) recently said he was seriously considering entering the race. Commissioner Dan Saltzman has said he will run if there are no viable candidates. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen and former Commissioner Jim Francesconi have said they will not run, but could change their minds.

In his announcement, Adams took credit for the city's first strategic economic development plan, which he said has already created nearly 2,000 jobs. He listed a number of other accomplishments as well, including those in the fields of education and sustainability.

Adam's first term has also been marred by a sex scandal involving an 18-year-old that erupted during his first weeks in office.

Here is Adam's announcement:

Portland's future - and mine.

By Sam Adams

FRI, JULY 29, 2011 2:37PM

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.


Sam Adams


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