On a break from jury duty.
  • On a break from jury duty.
Anyone poking their heads into courtrooms around the fifth floor of the Multnomah County courthouse this morning would've seen an all-too-democratic sight: Mayor Sam Adams, sitting in his windbreaker and slacks, answering attorneys' questions with a bunch of other prospective jurors.

When I found him, he was in Courtroom 528, part of a group of some two dozen people enduring interviews for a negligence trial involving a woman who was suing an attorney over what she alleges was faulty advice. In the few minutes I sat in the back of the courtroom, attorney John Tollefsen spoke with much of the group, including a commercial property landlord, a retired nurse, a Siltronic accountant, a former jury foreman, and a human resources executive.

After about 15 minutes or so, he finally acknowledged the familiar face in the room, asking "Mr. Mayor" whether his busy schedule and pile of responsibilities would make jury duty difficult.

"It's manageable," Adams answered. "Except for Thursday. It's the second city council meeting of the week. I have to attend. I can miss the first one."

(My ears perked up. Thursday's the day council, if Adams' office can put its proposal together in time tomorrow, is next scheduled discuss the Joint Terrorism Task Force.)

Later Tollefsen asked if anyone in the room had ever hired a lawyer for advice, kind of an important issue for the case at hand. Naturally, Adams' hand was among those raised.

"Mr. Mayor, I sort of assumed," Tollefsen said to laughs. "I'm not going to ask you about your issues."

During a break, I caught up with Adams, who said this was his third time slogging through jury duty since working at City Hall. I asked him if his comment in the courtroom was an indication his JTTF proposal—expected to be something like a memorandum of understanding with the FBI—was on track. If the proposal is late, his office said it would cancel Thursday's hearing.

He raised his eyes from his iPhone, offered a Cheshire grin, and said he couldn't discuss it. Fine. But I still wouldn't start making other plans. Oh, and no, the mayor was not picked.