News | Portland

Gay Man Accused of Smearing Another in Portland Mayoral Race

Bob Ball, a gay real estate developer from Portland, Oregon who is seen as a would-be politician and reportedly has an interest in running in the city's mayoral race, has been accused of launching a nasty smear campaign against the leading candidate for the top job who is another openly gay man — City Commissioner Sam Adams.

Ball_adamsIt appears that Ball has decided to use the recent gay political scandals (such as Mark Foley and underage pages) as fodder for an unsubstantiated smear job against his potential opponent. Ball has apparently twisted a mentoring relationship that Adams had with a 17-year-old intern in the Oregon house to make it appear something untoward was going on.

The Oregonian reports: "The problem: The story Ball told about Adams and a 17-year-old legislative intern isn't true, according to both Adams and the young man. Adams acknowledges trying to be a mentor, including exchanging numerous phone calls and text messages with the young man over several months in summer 2005. But both men said that they have never been anything more than friends. Ball said he was doing a public service in speaking with [Portland City Commissioner Randy] Leonard, implying that as a reserve police officer he felt a responsibility to report suspected child abuse. Oregon law requires people in positions of responsibility -- public or private -- to report child abuse to police or welfare workers. Those he told, including Leonard and former Mayor Vera Katz, said they took it as an attempt at political assassination."

The charges have led Adams to write an open letter to the citizens of Portland.

Writes Adams: "I have in the past, and I will in the future, respond to people who reach out to me for help and advice. This is especially true when it comes to young people. Growing up in Newport and Eugene, Oregon I remember when I was a teenager and I had nobody who I felt I could talk to at a time I desperately needed someone to give me advice and perspective about coming to terms with being gay. I came through it. Not everyone does. Gay youth suicide rates, homelessness and depression are still too high. And adequate services have been lacking: Reasons why I co-founded Portland's Q Center, served on the Boards of Cascade AIDS Project, Basic Right Oregon and lobbied the state legislature in support of statewide non-discrimination laws. I didn't get into public life to allow my instinct to help others to be snuffed out by fear of sleazy misrepresentations or political manipulation. I understand the need for good judgment, and I keep within the bounds of propriety -- as I did in this case."

Beau Breedlove, the 17-year-old intern who is now 20, continues to say there is and never was any kind of romantic relationship between him and Adams. Ball has issued a statement in response to the local media frenzy regarding the accusations, concluding "Any story here is not about me."

The Portland Mercury blog frames the debate. Adams told the paper: "If this had come from the right wing—and it probably will now—that would have been one thing. But to come from another gay man is something more hurtful. It plays into the worst, deep-seeded fears society has about gay men: You can’t trust them with your young."

Mayoral Race Off to Brutal Beginning [williamette week]
Gay on gay political smearing? [oregon live blog]
Fallout from rumors stirs City Hall politics [the oregonian]
An Open Letter to Portlanders [sam adams site]

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  1. A gay man is using the ugliest of gay myths to exploit fear for political gain? A gay man? Against another gay man? Ball can rot in hell.

    Posted by: sam | Sep 19, 2007 4:40:41 PM

  2. Why can't the gays all just get along?

    Posted by: | Sep 19, 2007 4:42:53 PM

  3. Ball is beneath contempt. As if we didn't have enough enemies as it is.


    Beau Breedlove, the 17-year-old intern who is now 20, continues to say there is and never was any kind of romantic relationship "between he and Adams". That should be "between 'him' and Adams".

    Posted by: nic | Sep 19, 2007 4:45:20 PM

  4. Ball is a scumbag!!!

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 19, 2007 4:59:25 PM

  5. It's "Between HIM and Adams"


    Pronouns do not automatically get assigned to the nominative case just because they are part of a noun phrase.

    Posted by: thin mint | Sep 19, 2007 5:03:12 PM

  6. Sorry, didn't notice the first comment. I posted without reading because this is a pet peeve.

    Posted by: thin mint | Sep 19, 2007 5:04:13 PM

  7. Oregon and Washington state have had some of the worst sex-abuse witch hunts since the middle ages, and this is just a continuation of that habit.

    Posted by: anon ( | Sep 19, 2007 5:07:23 PM

  8. Now that I've gotten over my grammar frenzy, I too am pretty pissed off not just with Ball, but with the lurid, salacious tone of the Willamette Week article.

    Where the fuck do they get off printing a story about whether a seventeen-year-old appeared to have a crush on somebody? This is journalism?

    Posted by: thin mint | Sep 19, 2007 5:29:16 PM

  9. As far as I'm concerned, Ball just dynamited his own campaign. I certainly hope there's nothing untoward in his past. Usually people who accuse others of something are projecting their own desires on that person.

    What makes it especially bad is that Ball is another gay man doing this. Has he no sense of propriety? I hope Adams sues the shit out of the jagoff.

    Posted by: Tread | Sep 19, 2007 6:03:57 PM

  10. I thought Adams' response was classy. I'd vote for him if I lived in Oregon.

    Is it just me, or does Adams sort of resemble Peter Krause of Six Feet Under and Sports Night fame?


    Posted by: Travis | Sep 19, 2007 6:11:12 PM

  11. thank you, grammar police.

    Posted by: andy | Sep 19, 2007 6:13:23 PM

  12. Earlier, when I read this post, the first thing I noticed that was incorrect in the sentence was "...there is and never was..."

    To my grammar police colleagues: Shouldn't that have read, "there is not nor ever was..."?

    Either way, I certainly hope Bob Ball shows some cajones and comes to the table with some serious "splainin" or at the very least, a retraction.

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Sep 19, 2007 6:25:29 PM

  13. I'm amazed at how self-destructive people can be. Ball doesn't seem to realize how he is crippled his own chances in the race. I'd like to be a better gay men and be supportive of both candidates, but he has made it very hard on me to say anything nice. I hope he can redeem himself, apologize for his doings and raise above this issue to continue to do good in our community and well beyond its borders.

    Posted by: Rafael | Sep 19, 2007 6:29:34 PM

  14. Before the grammar police gets to me, I meant to type "gay man" =P

    Posted by: Rafael | Sep 19, 2007 6:32:33 PM

  15. And honey, Sam is HOT. I can totally see how a gay 17 year-old would be awfully impressed and awestruck, but still, it's certainly no reason to accuse Mr. Adams...

    Bitch move! He's MINE. LOL

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Sep 19, 2007 6:35:11 PM

  16. They are both so cute. They need to just become lovers and be done with it.

    Posted by: yum | Sep 19, 2007 6:45:01 PM

  17. As we as gay men assume political lives in an open and public manner; the backroom at the bar tussles will become more apparent. Too bad it can't be handled that way as well. Instead of having to post an open letter and assure the general public what his candidacy will mean to their lives, He should just pull up on that skank-and throw him a wicked beating till his ears bleed, spit in his face and piss on his leg. And then simply walk away.

    Posted by: lexxicuss | Sep 19, 2007 6:56:27 PM

  18. Andy,
    you're welcome.

    you're right. how 'bout, "... there is not now, nor was there ever..."? i didn't want to be overly picayune, however. i imagine andy is a busy guy.
    btw, "cojones" is slang for testicles, "cajones" are big boxes. hmmm... maybe there's not so much difference(?) lol.

    Posted by: nic | Sep 19, 2007 7:23:07 PM

  19. Posting without reading is a pet peeve of mine.

    Kidding, kidding...

    It's hard to tell what's really going on, especially given the way this rather worthless Willamette Week article was written. But if it turns out Ball is doing this to damage someone's reputation, that's well past disgusting. How can anyone possibly expect this guy to promote gay rights if he's willing to exploit what should be a dying gay stereotype for personal gain?

    Despite how cynical you might be, people with that kind of moral flexibility are pretty rare. It truly frightens me when they express interest in running for office.

    As for Ball destroying his own political chances, I care far less about the poetic justice there than I do the practical fact that someone like him should not be given power. Ever.

    Posted by: raf (not rafael) | Sep 19, 2007 7:43:08 PM

  20. Yet another cat fight between us gay guys. So typical. Or is it cause of the politics?

    Anyway, it ain't pretty.

    And over something so trivial.


    Posted by: Jordan | Sep 19, 2007 7:55:10 PM

  21. "Beau Breedlove": Best. Name. EVER!

    Posted by: Asher | Sep 19, 2007 8:20:54 PM

  22. Sorry Jordan, while I might agree about the gay cat fights, this is not a trivial matter. First a mans personal reputation is at stake, as well as a possible criminal charge being levied. Second a man's political future is now in question because of obvious political slurs aimed his way. what several others in this thread have already pointed out, this revives a particularly nasty myth about gay men and young boys. That sets us and our cause back many years, especially in a state where the wing nuts are about even politically with the more open minded.

    If we ever start gay firing squads, I nominate Mr. Ball for first target.....sorry Leland Richein can be

    Posted by: Joshua | Sep 19, 2007 8:54:30 PM

  23. I see a thematic resonance between this story and the self-defense motivated revelation of Anthony Fortunato's sexuality in the Michael Sandy murder trial: some gay men are absolutely willing to victimize other gay men when opportunity and motive are in present in sufficience.

    It's not a new idea by any means, and to me it speaks more of the morality of the times rather than the gay psych per se.

    Other thoughts?

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 19, 2007 9:21:48 PM

  24. This is just unbelievably disgusting. But there is something to be said for the fact that instead of hurting Adams, Ball has unintentionally brought attention to a terrific person in Adams. Here's hoping this nasty rumor backfires on Ball.


    My pet peeve is when people point out grammatical errors.

    Posted by: dattexas | Sep 19, 2007 10:03:08 PM

  25. Cowardly personal attacks and scandal mongering are the only way out for those who support bigot candidates, bigot churches or bigot governments. These gutless wonders hide their real politics, which are invariably rightist, and their real goals, using the only weapon at hand, the Big Lie. The endless repetition of lies was perfected by the Nazis and has since seen wide use.

    When used publically by people like Bob Ball, whose job as a fat cat real estate developer and ambition to be a politician both require an accomplished liar, this kind of scandal mongering filth perpetuates bigotry and hurts all of us. He’s contemptible.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Sep 19, 2007 10:41:29 PM

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