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Friday, December 7, 2012

Gang Task Force Says Goodbye to Mayor Sam Adams

Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Mayor Adams Receives Award and Thanks from PPD
Mayor Sam Adams' farewell tour is officially under way. Today's meeting of the city's Gang Violence Task Force, held every two weeks for the past two years at the Portland Police Bureau's North Precinct, was Adams' last as mayor—and in a room occasionally brimming with emotion, members took turns talking about how the task force wouldn't be what it was without Adams' leadership and guidance.

At one point, they even played a video, with "Imagine" as the soundtrack, highlighting Adams' work on violence. One woman told Adams, through tears, "I come to this meeting almost every week thinking it's going to be dark, but because of you all I leave with hope. You keep it light."

Some talked of the mayor's focus on guns. The director of Operation Ceasefire, a voluntary gun buy-back program, noted that 80 percent of all gun deaths in Oregon are suicides and insisted that, a direct result of Adams' support of the program, suicides had been prevented.

Others spoke of the mayor's prized program, Youth Connect, a scholarship program which provides paid internships to failing students who agree to attend summer school. One speaker praised the scholarships for putting legal money into the pockets of kids who might otherwise break the law for cash.

The most poignant story, however, came from the mayor himself. He spoke about a mother who begged him to be let through a police line so she could be close to her son, who had been shot. It was a woman he knew personally, and she was begging him as a friend. But he couldn't let her through, and she got so angry she lashed out and hit him repeatedly. He said that's the hardest thing about his job and the reason, he says, he's tried to invest in the issue.

“Keeping the community safe, peaceful, happy is the most sacred responsibility government has.”

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