Mayor Sam Adams of Portland, Oregon was elected Mayor of Portland in May 2008 and served until 2012. Prior to being elected Mayor, Adams served as a Commissioner on the City Council for four years earning a reputation as a "policy-driven" advocate for sustainability, public transit, transportation planning, the arts, and gay rights.
Adams gravitated to politics as a University of Oregon intern for Congressman Peter DeFazio where he stayed on staff until 1987. He then went to work for the Oregon House Democratic Campaign Committee and at that time the Democratic Majority Leader Carl Hosticka. Adams turned his focus to Portland in 1991, where he successfully managed Vera Katz’s first campaign for mayor. At age 29, he began the first of 11 years as the youngest mayoral chief of staff in the city’s history.
As a City Commissioner, he was Commissioner in Charge of Portland’s Office of Transportation and the Bureau of Environmental Services, and council liaison to, among others, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Association of Portland Neighborhood Business Districts, and Worksystems, Incorporated. Today, Mayor Adams continues to tackle those political first ascents serving as Portland’s first openly gay City Commissioner and now, Mayor. In his role as Mayor, Adams was the lead Council member on Economic Development, Planning and Sustainability, Education, Arts and Culture, and Transportation.
As the Commissioner-in-charge of the newly reorganized Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Mayor Adams brought renewed focus to developing and implementing plans that kept Portland livable, vibrant, and economically healthy, and increased Portland’s status as a national leader in sustainable planning and development.