PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Mayor Sam Adams is fending off personal financial struggles -- again after he for the second time in a year fell behind on his mortgage payments.
Though he earns $118,000 a year, Adams said he has huge legal bills leftover from successfully defending himself against a criminal investigation earlier in his term.
That investigation centered around the Oregon Attorney General's probe into Adams's untruthful denial of a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old.
For his triplex rental house, the mayor recently fell behind four months in mortgage payments. He just paid up and avoided default.
"I'm paying my bills," he said. "I struggled for different reasons than folks that are facing unemployment, but I think that makes me more sensitive to their plight and it certainly makes me more passionate to do something about it."
A year ago Adams fell behind on two other mortgage payments. In 1990, medical and credit card bills forced him into bankruptcy.
Portlander Jim Flynn is disappointed by the way Adams's handles his personal finances. He thinks it is reflective of his spending policies at City Hall.
"He's fiscally inept. It's just beyond comprehension what he's done with the city's finances," said Flynn.
Portland commercial real estate broker Scott Finney says no one -- not even a high-raking politician -- is immune to the continued challenges posed by the current housing crisis.
But Finney believes the public side of Mayor Adams's financial judgment is also suffering.
"You've got to bring business to the city. You've got to want to do business with the city. And he's more concerned about putting bicycle boxes in the city at $4,000 or $5,000 apiece."
Robin Lamoureux, however, is putting herself in the mayor's shoes.
"Sometimes I can't do in my personal life what I can do in my job because I feel like I owe my job," she said. "In my personal life, I could slack off a little bit."
Adams says his work speaks for itself. Attracting federal stimulus dollars and new programs and balancing difficult budget cuts with substantial administrative belt-tightening, he says, are among the many ways he has proven himself to Portland citizens.