Live Television Broadcast Puts Mayor in National Spotlight

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Byline: CITY BEAT/SPRINGFIELD By Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

Mayor Sid Leiken got his 15 minutes of fame Friday.

Unfortunately, in these economically strapped times, that boiled down to three minutes and 48 seconds.

Leiken was broadcast live on CNBC's "Power Lunch," a look at trends driving the markets and influencing Wall Street. NBC's financial news channel is interviewing the mayors of Springfields everywhere, asking them about the local economy and reactions to war, Leiken said.

On Friday, Leiken sat in a chair in his City Hall office under bright lights, while two cameramen fussed over him. "Don't breathe this stuff in," one said, powdering Leiken's face. "You'll start seeing colors."

Then it got quiet, as everyone in the room - that is, Leiken, the two cameramen and four local news people doing stories on CNBC doing a story on Leiken - waited as Leiken listened for his cue. The CNBC anchors were going to break away from the day's news to interview him from their studio in Fort Lee, N.J., through an earpiece only he could hear.

Then Leiken was on, answering questions about Oregon's economy and the local lay of the land, before a TV audience of more than 82 million.

He noted the approval of the PeaceHealth project and the death of Sony Disc Manufacturing - "it was a good news, bad news week" - and the city's attempt to stabilize the budget with new fees.

Leiken also deftly plugged his employer when asked what it's like to be a voluntary civil servant: "I joke that my full-time job is working for the city of Springfield and my part-time job is working for Wells Fargo Bank," he said.

In just minutes, it was over - lights out, cameras off and thank you very much.

"All that waiting for, what, two minutes?" Leiken asked, laughing. "That was fun, and I think as much as we can, we put a good positive (face) on our community."

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