Mayor says KATU "baited" lawmakers' comments

Mayor says KATU "baited" lawmakers' comments »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - More questions are arising concerning the mayor's credibility after he claims that KATU "baited" lawmakers into saying negative things about him.

This comes just a few days after a KATU story revealed that Portland's mayor has a credibility problem with lawmakers in Salem that could cost the city when it comes to important issues.

In Monday's story, four Democratic senators who represent parts of Portland said they were concerned about the mayor and how he is perceived in Salem.

"The leadership in the biggest city in Oregon is not respected in this building," said Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland.

"I've frankly seen more of my constituents in Tigard, in terms of their city council, than I have of Portland," said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland.

"Any time you have your largest city not with a grand presence, you feel that there is something missing," said Sen. Margaret Carter, D-Portland.

"He infuriated the Senate President and members of my committee and I think he embarrassed himself," said Sen. Mark Hass, in reference to how the mayor called a news conference to call on lawmakers to move a piece of legislation forward instead of just contacting Hass directly and asking.

Burdick and Carter also expressed concerns that no one from the city had contacted them about funding for the city-promised Major League Soccer stadium.

WATCH THE STORY: Are the mayor's foibles affecting city business?

The day after our story aired, as we ended an interview with Adams on another topic, he said something that was unexpected as he got in a car to leave.

Adams: "So, I did talk to Margaret and I did talk to Ginny Burdick."

Tilkin: "Uh huh. Today?"

Adams: "Yeah. No, last week, after you talked to me."

Tilkin: "Ok."

Adams: "They felt. They felt like you were trying to bait them into saying something negative."

Tilkin: "Well, you can, I, look at the..."

Adams: "I'm just reporting what they said."

KATU was concerned the senators thought we took their comments out of context or perhaps the mayor was distorting what they said, so we went back to them to make sure our report was accurate.

"I felt like I was accurately portrayed in the story," said Burdick, who added that our questions were "provocative."

Carter sent an e-mail to the mayor saying "I was concerned to hear yesterday from Dan Tilkin that you quoted me as saying he had "baited" me..."  "That is not accurate.  He did not bait me, nor have I ever said, to you or to anyone else, that he did."

Adams' response to that e-mail was "thank you for the clarification" but there was no further explanation.

On Thursday, another KATU reporter asked Adams' spokesman, Roy Kaufman, whether the mayor stood by what he said, despite what Carter told him in the e-mail.

"Again, I wasn't present for the conversation but my understanding is they had a sincere conversation and how he responded to Dan Tilkin was based on the conversation he had," said Kaufman.

Following our investigation into Adams' credibility problem at the state capitol, the mayor called all four senators and even apologized to Hass for dropping the ball on a piece of city legislation and for putting the senator in an awkward position.