With an investigation of Portland Mayor Sam Adams now tossed onto his plate, Oregon's new attorney general - John Kroger - is getting an early and high-profile test of his ability to be impartial, timely and complete.
At the request of Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk and Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer, Kroger agreed last week to investigate the Adams mess. We concur that Kroger is in the best position to take an arm's length look at Adams' actions and determine whether the mayor violated state laws. But we also hope that, in contrast to other state investigations of recent years, Kroger is able to make this a swift review.
Portland residents deserve to know quickly whether their mayor violated the law. One area of focus ought to be whether Adams' relationship in 2005 with teenager Beau Breedlove broke the law. Adams admits having sexual relations with Breedlove shortly after he turned 18, but this week Breedlove also disclosed that he and Adams kissed at least twice while he still was 17.
The attorney general also should determine whether Adams committed official misconduct by using his city commissioner's office to hide the truth, and whether he violated election laws by lying to the public to influence the 2008 mayor's race.
Much is a stake here, including Adams credibility and his ability to focus on guiding City Hall at a time where the faltering economy sends more shudders through the community each day. Within months, Adams may be the subject of a recall drive.
For these reasons and more, Kroger must move quickly. And once his investigation is complete, the information should be made fully public as soon as possible.