MAYOR SAM ADAMS announced his proposed budget last Friday, May 1, the same morning the Oregonian broke another story about his relationship with former legislative intern Beau Breedlove.
Adams, the Oregonian reported, had called Breedlove 33 times on his cell phone before the lad turned 18, despite having previously told reporters that Breedlove had pursued him. Instead of answering questions about the scandal at Friday's press conference, Adams focused on his proposed budget—which seemed tailor made to keep council colleagues happy and distracted at a politically sensitive time when the attorney general's investigative report and a possible recall are looming.
Adams described the budget as meeting "basic needs," increasing the housing bureau's general fund by about $3.7 million, or roughly 30 percent, including $1 million to fund the operation of a new Resource Access Center for the homeless, planned by City Commissioner Nick Fish.
"If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness or in need of supportive services, if you are struggling in this economy, you are a winner in this budget," said Fish, making scant mention of the nine jobs being cut from his parks bureau.
Likewise, Adams promised to keep open a threatened fire station, prompting Fire Bureau Commissioner Randy Leonard to describe the budget as "remarkable"—even while it cuts 55 jobs from his Bureau of Development Services.
City Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent from the briefing, but approves of the budget because it follows through on his plan to consolidate the Portland Police Bureau's five precincts into three, say staffers. Thirty-three jobs will be lost at the police bureau.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz's Office of Human Relations had been threatened with a 46 percent cut, but instead Adams opted to fund its work permanently—a big win for Fritz.
"It was the mayor and the rest of city council honoring their commitments to human rights from last year," she said, after the press conference.
Meanwhile, the budget also includes $2.5 million for a predevelopment agreement on Major League Soccer and AAA baseball stadiums. The Mercury asked the mayor how this line item fits with meeting the city's "basic needs." Adams said the money is expected to come from the city's spectator facilities fund—which taxes a percentage of ticket sales—and therefore could not be used to fund other projects.
Adams also plans to raise water rates by 17.9 percent and parking meter revenues by 35 percent to balance the books, and is cutting a net total of 159 city jobs, including 61 in his own Bureau of Transportation.
Adams' mayoral campaign video featured him making a call to the bureau to get a pothole fixed last year, but five jobs have been cut from "local street pavement surface treatments," under his proposed budget.