PORTLAND – Mayor Sam Adams said Sunday he will not resign despite calls for him to step down after admitting he lied about a sexual relationship with a teenager.
“Tomorrow, I go back (to) work as your mayor. I know I have let you down and made mistakes. I ask your forgiveness,” Adams said in a statement. “I believe I have a lot to offer the city I love during this time of important challenges.”
Adams informed the four city commissioners of his decision earlier the day. He met separately with them on Saturday to privately discuss his political future just three weeks after being sworn in.
The scandal has resulted in an investigation by the Oregon attorney general and has divided the city and its gay and lesbian community. Adams has found strong support to remain, including a Friday rally on his behalf at City Hall that drew more than 400 people.
Earlier this week, Adams publicly apologized for lying about his sexual relationship with an 18-year-old man in 2005 as he began his campaign for mayor in 2007.
The teenager, Beau Breedlove, has said he did not have sex with the mayor until he was 18, even though they met when Breedlove was 17.
Breedlove, now 21, said the relationship was consensual and he considered himself an adult even before he turned 18.
“I do not see any relationship that I ever had with Sam as me being taken advantage of,” Breedlove told the Oregonian on Saturday. “I do not feel like I was ever a victim.”
The City Council planned to meet Monday. Commissioner Randy Leonard has been in charge of the city as president of the City Council, and he told the Associated Press he would like to get the issue resolved as soon as possible to make sure city business gets done.
“At a minimum, this is very distractive,” Leonard said.
In his statement, Adams said he would “work harder than I ever have in my life” to help see the city through the tough economic times.
Two of the leading business associations in Portland had taken a wait-and-see stance on Adams.
Steve Holwerda, chairman of the Portland Business Alliance, said in a statement released Saturday the alliance board had differing views on whether Adams should resign, but they agreed it was a critical time for the city and some of its major development projects.
“Whether or not he stays in office should be based on whether he can lead our city effectively and with the integrity that all our citizens deserve,” Holwerda said.
But the board of the Portland Area Business Association went further and said Adams should remain in office, but added, “pending the outcome of official investigation.”
Tony Green, spokesman for Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, declined comment Sunday on the investigation.