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June 17th, 2009 Allison Ferre | News Stories
 

Easy Ride

For one parade, embattled Mayor Sam Adams enjoys support.

     
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RIDE WITH PRIDE: Mayor Sam Adams’ detractors were in short supply last week at the Pride Parade.
IMAGE: Allison Ferré

Lined up behind Stumptown clowns and drag queens on Segways, Mayor Sam Adams’ ride in the city’s Pride Parade last weekend was not a rough one.

Adams’ would-be recallers plan to file their paperwork with election officials July 7 to kick off their signature-gathering efforts. And the mayor, along with City Hall, is also awaiting a report by Attorney General John Kroger investigating Adams’ sexual relationship with then-18-year-old Beau Breedlove in 2005 and the lies Adams told about it.

Yet that all seemed far away Sunday, June 14, as Adams mostly drew cheers from parade viewers. Adams showed up for the 34th annual Pride Parade in a plaid shirt, khaki shorts and a yellow helmet for his bike ride. He rode with Q19, a local company that provides commercial janitorial work and greening consultation services and in part promotes Portland as a cycle-friendly city.

Adams rode the Northwest Broadway to Southwest Taylor route behind a rainbow-striped sign that read, “Sam Adams: Your Voice in City Hall.” Crossed out on the sign was his title during past Pride parades before he took office as mayor in January: “Portland’s first openly gay city commissioner and mayor-elect.”

Fellow bike riders toted paddles that read “I’m a fan,” and on the flip side, “I’m with Sam.”

From the Park Blocks to Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Adams got whistles, woo-hoos and fist pumps from the crowd. Emcee Zora Phoenix excitedly shouted his introduction: “Our Mayor Sam Adams...proud to represent a vibrant and vital community!” And one man on a balcony summed up his support with a concise shout: “More power to you!”

A cheering Portlander, Barbara Casey, admitted her feelings about Adams went back and forth after the truth about his relationship with Breedlove came out in January (see “Why Adams Confessed,” WW, Jan. 21, 2009).

“I don’t like things to be hidden, but there is a disconnect between his personal life and his ability to do his job” Casey said. “My opinion of him hasn’t changed professionally.”

Tony Sermonti, president of Olympia’s Capital City Pride, came from Washington to cheer Adams from the sidelines.

“Bad stuff happens to good people,” Sermonti said. “Adams is a good person.”

Even though the Portland gay publication Just Out called on Adams to resign after he admitted to lying about being a mentor to Breedlove, Sermonti was one of many gay backers along the parade route who said there has been no change in his or her support for the mayor.

And Q19’s managing director, Hannah Sandmeyer, said there was no hesitation to accept the offer from Adams’ office to ride alongside him.

“We’re a bike business, so anything to get the bike business out in the public is great,” Sandmeyer said.

Debra Porta, Pride Northwest festival organizer, said Adams’ registration prompted no debate from officials about letting him participate.

“Whoever happens to be mayor is always welcome to march in the parade,” Porta said.

Recall organizer Jasun Wurster praised the Pride Parade as a great event, but said of Adams: “He’s done a disservice to the city of Portland. I can’t comment on the reaction he received, since I wasn’t there, but I can say Adams has been very divisive in the LGBT community.”

Adams posed for photos with parade participants and spectators at his line-up point as well as the end, underneath the Morrison Bridge, where he chatted as the rest of the parade rolled in.

The only negative shout-out Adams got along the parade route was from two men under a “Why do you love the devil?” sign that listed homosexuals, Muslims and “loud-mouthed women” among those bound for hell. The duo shouted, “Sinner!” repeatedly into a megaphone—but they also shouted that at all the parading groups.


FACT: The committee to recall Sam Adams announced it will delay the start date for its effort from July 1 to July 7 to avoid losing a week due to calendar quirks surrounding the July 4 holiday.
 
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