One-on-one: Why Sam Adams is running for Portland council


Sam Adams served one term as mayor of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a one-on-one interview with KOIN 6 News, former Portland Mayor Sam Adams shared his reasons for running for City Council against Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

Adams, now 56, spent 20 years at City Hall. He was a city commissioner before being elected mayor in 2008 and was the longtime chief of staff to Mayor Vera Katz. He left after one term and most recently was the head of an environmental policy group in Washington, DC.

He came back to Portland in 2019 and now says a lot of people tell him their connections with City Hall are frayed and broken — and they asked him to run.

There are 4 city council seats on the May 2020 ballot. There’s the vacant seat created when Nick Fish died January 2. Ted Wheeler is running for re-election as mayor, Amanda Fritz is retiring, and Eudaly’s.

Asked why he chose to run against the first-term commissioner rather than one of the open seats, Adams cited the diversity of the announced candidates.

Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams is now a candidate for City Council, January 17, 2020 (KOIN)

“I wanted to give the diverse crop of really good, strong candidates in the open seat the space to run, and the city electorate wants that,” Adams told KOIN 6 News, “and it’s why I endorsed Carmen Rubio for Amanda’s seat.”

He said he offers the “perspective of an experienced outsider.”

Eudaly, a former bookstore owner, defeated incumbent Steve Novick in the 2016 election. She said she was surprised by his decision to run for her seat.

“This race is really going to be about our past accomplishments and our priorities moving forward, and I think there’s some pretty clear differences there,” Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said.

“I think it’s unfortunate that he (Sam Adams) would go after someone like me who really does represent many voices in Portland that haven’t had a voice on Council, in particular, renters. He presided over City Council at the beginning of the housing crisis we’re currently in.”

It’s not just Adams against Eudaly for this seat.

Others who are in the race for Eudaly’s seat are Mingus Mapps, Jack Kerfoot, Alyssa Vinsonhaler, Robert MacKay and Keith Wilson.

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