Facts about Sam Adams

Sam Adams is 60 years old
Best known as: The openly gay mayor of Portland, Oregon, 2009-12 

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Sam Adams Biography

When Sam Adams was elected mayor of Portland, Oregon in 2008, he made history as the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.

Originally from Montana, Adams grew up mostly in Oregon, in Newport and in Eugene.

Adams got into politics in 1986, as an aide in the successful congressional campaign of Democrat Peter DeFazio.

After a few years as a functionary in Democrat state politics, Sam Adams became the Chief of Staff for Portland’s Mayor Vera Katz in 1993, a post he held for the next eleven years.

The local press “outed” Adams as a gay man in 1993, but it didn’t hamper his political career, and he was elected to Portland’s city council in 2004.

In the run-up to his 2008 campaign for mayor, Adams was accused by a political opponent of having an inappropriate relationship with a teenager named Beau Breedlove. Their romance was said to have happened in 2005, when Adams was 42 and Breedlove was not yet 18.

Adams angrily denied the accusation, but in January of 2009, shortly after being sworn in as mayor, he admitted that he’d lied about his romance with Breedlove.

Adams refused to resign, and two attempts to recall Adams as mayor failed. His role as a leader diminished, he announced in July of 2011 that he would not seek re-election. His term ended at the end of 2012.

After being mayor, Adams worked for non-profit organizations and popped up occasionally on the television series Portlandia (playing an aide to the mayor, played by Kyle McLachlan). He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Portland City Council in 2020.

Extra credit

Although Beau Breedlove said he and Sam Adams had “kissed” in the early months of their relationship, both men maintain that they refrained from sexual activity until after Breedlove turned 18… The political opponent who accused Adams of inappropriate conduct with a minor was also gay; he reported his suspicions to two of Adams’s longtime political allies, adding another wrinkle to the local political drama… Adams supported himself during his last years in high school, working at a Mr. Steak restaurant in Eugene while his mom lived in Portland, 100 miles away.


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