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Mayors state of city speech rankles some

In re-cap of year, some felt Becker left out Bemis' achievements

Mayor Charles Becker's controversial State of the City Address has only further fanned the political flames between him and mayoral opponent Council President Shane Bemis.

After the 45-minute speech written by city spokeswoman Laura Bridges-Shepard, Bemis said he felt slighted that Becker didn't mention his contributions toward gaining control of local roads previously controlled by Multnomah County.

'To omit people out of their accomplishments for political gain is something I didn't think he would ever do,' Bemis said following the speech delivered Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Bemis and other city councilors in August voiced dismay that the speech, designed to be an annual recap of city accomplishments, was scheduled so close to the Nov. 7 election. They worried Becker would use the speech as part of his campaign for a third four-year term as mayor.

Councilor Paul Warr-King, the only councilor supporting the mayor's re-election campaign, said Becker did a good job of laying out his accomplishments.

Warr-King also said he thought Becker gave credit to the council as a whole as well as a few individually for various efforts. 'I don't think he made this into a political speech,' Warr-King said.

David Widmark, a councilor backing Bemis for mayor, disagreed. 'There was a blurring of years, eight years,' Widmark said, implying that Becker used the speech as an opportunity to outline his eight years in office, not the past year's accomplishments.

Even Rod Park, who represents East Multnomah County at Metro Regional Government and who is endorsing Becker, noted that Bemis wasn't mentioned as being instrumental in the county road transfer.

'I think Shane deserved a lot of credit in dealing with the Legislature on that,' Park said. 'And it never hurts to give people credit.'