In 2004, he was elected to the Portland City Council, serving four years on the council earning a reputation as a "policy-driven advocate for sustainability, the arts, and gay rights." He was elected to a four-year term as Mayor of Portland in the May 2008 primary, with 58% of the vote and a dozen other candidates on the ballot. He was outed as gay by the alternative newspaper Willamette Week in 1993 and was the first openly gay mayor of a top-30 U.S. city. In July 2011, Adams announced that he would not seek a second term as mayor. He had an approval rating of 56% eight months before he left office.
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