For the past week, I’ve mostly held my tongue on the subject of whether Mayor Sam Adams should stay or go—because let’s face it: who wants to hear yet another myopic newspaper editor moralizing from on high? However, since Adams is walking into city hall later today to presumably decide his fate with the help of his fellow commissioners, I’ve decided to speak out—not for myself, but on behalf of Mercury readers. Unlike many frenetic local newspaper editors, our readers took much of the week to actually think about the ramifications of this issue, and while most can’t agree on how or if Adams should be punished, a majority of them agree on one point:

Adams should stay.

For a week we’ve lived with a feeling of betrayal—and that’s going to linger for a while. For a week, we’ve lived with the feeling of outrage. Again, get used to it. But unlike the hysterical rush to judgment and prosecution suggested by some members of the local and national media (which… okay… the Mercury is a weeeeee bit guilty of as well), our readers know better. They know those feelings will eventually pass, and when they do, what will we be left with? Yet another election, complete with months of mud-slinging candidates and a winner who—let’s be honest—could turn out to be far worse from a policy standpoint. Our readers have spoken, and they are “electioned out.”

Though some may have forgotten, Adams was elected for a reason. Sexual proclivities and crafty schemes aside, Adams has been instrumental in helping grow Portland into a town envied across the nation for its environmental and transportation policies. And he’s just getting started. Mercury readers, and a majority of Portlanders, made their choice, and they were right. Even after the conniving lies, selfish behavior, and careers he came close to ruining—he’s still the best candidate on a policy level. (Sorry, Sho… but it’s true.)

Our readers know all this, and right now, they don’t need a lesson in morality. They need potholes filled. They need jobs. And they need faith that someone is behind the wheel that knows what he’s doing. They’ve agreed about it in our polls, in our comment section on this blog, and they showed up in huge numbers (between 500-1500 according to various reports) last night at city hall. They know that now is not the time for “hurt feelings” or the smugness of looking down from the moral high ground.

Now is the time for Adams to get back to work.

Let the attorney general do his thing. If a law has been broken, we’re all in agreement—Adams is gone. Until then let’s be realistic: in this economy, with a dicey infrastructure, and more and more homeless filling our streets… we don’t have time for the bullshit of recalls, temporary mayors, or special elections. Forgiveness may one day come, trust may someday be earned—but unless we put away our pride and give him that chance, how will we ever know?

Make him take a pay cut, give him community service (maybe not with any gay youth, hmmm?)—we’ll work the punishment out later. For now, our people have spoken—and they don’t give two shits about what any newspaper has to say. They can think for themselves. And they think Adams should stay.

For what little it’s worth, I agree.