Sam Adams wins city commisioner seat

Sam Adams will take Jim Francesconi’s spot on city council,coming from behind to beat opponent Nick Fish by a tiny margin.Adams received 51 percent of the vote to Fish’s 49.

Adams handled the narrow victory calmly, saying that now that hehas won, he plans to take a vacation “somewhere in Oregonthat’s really inexpensive because I have no money.”

Adams attributed his success largely to the strong turnout fromyoung voters in Portland in this election.

“My strongest support came from young people, 18 to 24,they put their faith and trust in me that I’m going to shake upCity Hall,” Adams said.

Fish conceded defeat at his election party at the OregonConvention Center, saying multiple times that “This is themost extraordinary year of my life.”

The two candidates were smart and well prepared for the job tothe point that endorsements were split. The Oregonian firstendorsed Adams before throwing support behind Fish. Those whoendorsed Fish looked for a fresh face, calling a vote for Adams avote for the leadership of Vera Katz, for whom Adams was chief ofstaff.

Adams is a self-described details man who worked for Katz for 11years. He grew up with public assistance and was living alone byhis last years of high school. He graduated from University ofOregon with a political science degree.

As the first openly gay city council candidate, Adams gotfinancial backing from a Washington, D.C., group, the Gay andLesbian Victory Fund, as well as Basic Rights Oregon. Adams alsohad the endorsement of the Sierra Club, John Kitzhaber and theAfrican American Alliance.

Because of each candidate’s qualifications, and because votersplaced more emphasis on other races, this race had a very highpercentage of undecided voters. A Portland Tribune poll last weekconcluded that Fish’s lead had shrunk to within the error marginfor a statistical tie. Polls commissioned by the Oregonian twoweeks ago gave Fish and Adams a statistical tie and last weekcalled the race an even tie. Furthermore, the high percentage -around 20 percent, the Tribune poll said – of undecided voters madethe election uncallable.

Adams distanced himself from his former employer but touted hisformer position to show his knowledge of the inner workings of CityHall. Still, his detractors pointed to Katz’s shortcomings, notablythe mismanagement of the city-owned PGE Park and efforts to bring amajor-league baseball team to Portland.

Adams says his experience in City Hall has made him aware ofwaste created by overlapping city and county services, which heintends to use to fund new projects. Adams plans to includecitizens in City Hall’s budget process to increaseaccountability.

Vanguard electionteam
The following staffers contributed to this special extendedelection section:
Christian Gaston
Ryan Hume
Matt Petrie
Ian Ruder
Amy Sly

Wende Dyer
Dan Garcia
Heather Mathews
Chase Fulton

Elisabeth Meyer
Brett D. Pearce
Eric Macey
Leathan Graves-Highsmith
Patrick Alan Coleman
Joe Ireland
Stephanie Ryan
Josie Mulberry
Elaine Hays
Art Chenoweth
Treasure Porth
Catherine Olson