WW has also learned that a recent poll paid for by unions shows Adams doing very poorly in a general election against his two major opponents. former city commissioner Charlie Hales and businesswoman Eileen Brady. The sources said the poll was a major factor in his decision not to run in 2012.
Update 2: Adams confirmed that the poll results were a factor in his decision in an interview this afternoon with WW.
Adams said he "sat with [political consultant] Mark Wiener on Monday and got the review of the poll that was done by AFSCME and SEIU.
"It was definitely a factor, no question about it," Adams said. "But so was the feedback I got from [local] leaders. I got great encouragement from leaders in the environmental, business, small business—I got by no means unanimous, but I just got overwhelming support for the work we're doing, the focus of the administration, and the desire to keep that going."
"The poll frankly showed me at a better place than I thought I was going to be. It should a tough, close race, no question."
The poll, Adams went on, "was a factor. The fact that this would be an expensive campaign…and require me to fundraise, now that the…public financing is gone. It would be an expensive race, and what I would realize, it would require a heck of a lot of time. Which I have fire in the belly to do. But the tradeoff is I wouldn't devote the necessary time and attention to being mayor. Fundamentally, I'm just not willing to phone it in as mayor. That's kind of what it came down to."
Edited selections from Adams' interview with WW appear below:
WW: Personally, is this hard for you? You've spent your whole life in politics.
Adams: You know, I've spent my whole life in politics, so the answer is yes and no.
Yeah, it's sad, in a way. It's a relief in a way. … I didn't plan on being an elected official when I entered public service, so, it's—I'm realistic. You don't hold any professional position forever and certainly not in politics.
Did you talk to [former Mayor] Vera [Katz, for whom Adams served as chief of staff]?
Have you put any thought into the next chapter, what you might do next?
No, I haven't.
I wanted to make a good informed decision about this and people can count on me to continue the double-time work as mayor…and I'm going to do that for the next 17 months. I can do that without the extra layers of politics.
Do you have any feelings about the declared candidates?
Like any Portlander, I have my questions… After 18 years in City Hall a know a thing or two about a few issues. I care a lot about who leads this city. I don't know if I'll endorse or not. I haven't put any thought into it, to be honest.
Describe your conversation with [Commissioner] Randy [Leonard].
Amanda [Fritz] and Randy and Nick [Fish] were all surprised.
They had no indication—?
Well, The Oregonian has been printing for almost a year that I'm expected to run for reelection. I'm not sure where they got that.
Maybe it's because I've been a fixture in city government for so many years, I think the idea of just not continuing was maybe a shock to people. The conversations were all very poignant and personal.
I am finishing a long-scheduled, and much appreciated, week-long
âstaycation.â I hope you, too, are enjoying our long-awaited return of
the sunshine. I have used my time off to reflect on the needs of our
city, and how I can best serve Portlanders. I am writing to let you know
my future plans.
Each day I have worked in Portland City Hallâstarting as Mayor Vera
Katzâs Chief of Staff, then as a City Commissioner and now as your
MayorâI have been challenged, exhilarated, and most of all honored by
the opportunity to serve my fellow Portlanders and help shape the future
of our city. We have done great things together.
Since I took office as Mayor, weâve put nearly 2,000 people back to
work under the cityâs first Economic Development Strategy in 15 years.
We reined in City spending early, and have used the budget savings to
help thoseâlike the jobless and small business ownersâhit hardest by the
recession. Weâve made smart investments to expand summer education
programs and offer college scholarships to help thousands of students
graduate high school. Weâve laid the groundwork to ensure that every
Portlander has access to arts and arts education. Weâve implemented a
360-degree anti-gang violence strategy, and approved tougher laws on
illegal guns and drugs. With our Climate Action Plan and initiatives
like Clean Energy Works Oregon, we have reduced our green house gas
We have made these changes by creating or invigorating community
partnerships, like the new Cradle to Career education partnership, the
emerging Portland Plan Partners Council, and the reorganized Planning
and Sustainability Commission. These community- and business-based
partnerships for change will endure, regardless of who holds positions
of leadership in the public and private sector.
Making progress in this mannerâprogress that is accountable,
resilient, and ever-improvingâis the reason that I entered public
service. We have a lot more work to do, which brings me squarely to my
I am under no illusion of how challenging the race for re-election
would be. Iâve been in tough elections before; nobody thought I could
win my city council race in 2004. But I believe for me to win
re-election as mayor, I would need to fundraise and campaign full-time,
As I have considered the reality of a possible re-election effort, I
have come to the conclusion that I have a choice: Move this agenda
forward, or campaign full-time for re-election.
With the state of our nation in such flux, and so many local issues
needing focused and hands-on mayoral leadership, for me, the choice is
My best service to Portland will be to complete the platform of
change and improvement you elected me to deliver: Creating jobs,
increasing the high school graduation rate, and making Portland the most
sustainable city, with the most equal of opportunities. This work is
well underway, and Iâm committed to making every day of the next 17
months count. Thus, I will not seek re-election.
Each dayâsupported by my partner, Peter, and my familyâI wake up
feeling blessed to have the opportunity to serve as your mayor. It is,
without a doubt, the best job in the world.
Itâs also a job I cannot do alone. I want to thank my staff, who
bring an unparalleled passion for this city to their work each and every
day. Iâd also like to thank my council colleagues, who have shared in
this vision for a better Portland, and have helped us realize it. And I
want to thank our community, business, non-profit, education, and faith
community partners, without whom we could not have accomplished this