POL Government Elected Officials Nick Fish

Welcome to Commissioner Nick Fish's website

Commissioner Fish is in charge of the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services.  He is also Council liaison to Elders in Action, Venture Portland, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council.



The Weekly Catch

July 2, 2015

Never fear, water is here

This summer has already been a scorcher!


With this heat wave and dry conditions, many areas of Oregon are facing a drought. 


We are very fortunate here in Portland – we have an abundant water supply, thanks to our visionary Bull Run Watershed and the Columbia South Shore Well Field! 


The Bull Run Watershed is our primary source of water. It’s located in the Sandy River Basin, in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  The Bull Run water supply comes from spring rain, rather than snowpack – and Mt. Hood had a rainy spring. The two Bull Run dams hold a total of 19 billion gallons of water.


The Columbia South Shore Well Field is our secondary water source. It is groundwater found in underground aquifers. The Well Field is capable of producing nearly 100 million gallons of quality water per day. 


During the hot summer months, or during winter storms, water from the Well Field is sometimes blended with water from the Bull Run.


The Portland Water Bureau also occasionally blends water when they are hard at work with maintenance. By doing routine operations, the bureau ensures that our water system is reliable and able to meet seasonal supply demands. 


Portland has some of the best drinking water in the world. Among the Bull Run and the Well Field, we have billions of gallons of quality drinking water. Our impressive water system serves nearly a quarter of our state’s population. 


Visit the Portland Water Bureau’s website for more information. 

July 1, 2015

Lilly Lee - Blog #5


If you are following my blog, you know that last week I went to the opening of the new Interstate building. There I met a woman named Catherine Howells, she works at Portland State as an adjunct assistant professor. Catherine teaches about where tap water comes from, and invited me to tag along with her class to visit the Bull Run watershed. Water from rain and snowmelt flows into the Bull Run River, then drains into two reservoirs; all the water is moved through pipes by gravity.


Our Bull Run guide was Lisa Vieno, she works for the PWB as the water resources educator. She taught us everything we needed to know about the Bull Run. On our tour I got to see the different waters of the Sandy River and the Bull Run water. The Sandy River was very brown, and the Bull Run water was the absolute clearest water I had ever seen.


For lunch, we rode up to a gorgeous lake. This lake had three cabins, I took my lunch break along with other students at the third cabin. For lunch, I brought a salmon mango salad; although I forgot salad dressing the mango did the trick. My lunch view was the best part of the whole day, I had the view of the lake, forest trees, and Mt. Hood. It was one of the best lunch breaks I had ever had.


We stopped by a house overlooking the first dam for a rest because Catherine had baked cookies and brownies. Then we got to explore and walk on the dam; we even got to walk down a very steep stair case on the side of the dam. The view was incredible, and the weather was unbelievable! After sweating, and being in the sun all day, our tour lead us to a cooled tunnel. There was water dripping in the tunnel, and the walls of this tunnel had a range of colors (green, red, yellow, orange).


Over all I had a great day exploring the Bull Run. Not to mention it was my first time on Mt. Hood!!! It is really great knowing where tap water comes from, and who works hard to keep water safe for Portlanders. I just wanted to thank the Portland Water Bureau for their hard work. I love Portland tap water, because it tastes delicious!  

July 1, 2015

2015 Mid Year Report

I'm pleased to share my mid-year report with you.

The Council adopted a balanced budget for 2015-16. The budget invests in basic services like roads and parks maintenance, supports small businesses and healthy neighborhoods, prioritizes funding for affordable housing, and continues to build strong community partnerships.

We strengthened transparency and accountability at City Hall. The Council unanimously approved my proposal for a new Portland Utility Board. I agreed with the Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon that Portland ratepayers should no longer subsidize developers’ fees. And I supported a proposal from the City Auditor and Ombudsman to make it easier for citizens to challenge City decisions.

As Commissioner in charge of the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Water Bureau, I have learned that what's good for the environment is also good for our ratepayers.

We said goodbye to long-time housing advocate and former City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury, who passed away in March. Her legacy of service lives on through her daughter, County Chair Deborah Kafoury.

As always, it’s an honor to serve you on the City Council, to work with the talented professionals at our public utilities, and to partner with Venture Portland, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Portland'5, Elders in Action, and the Governor's Regional Solutions Team.

Unsung Heroes

Proudest Moments

  • Watching my daughter, Maria, graduate from college. This fall, she is heading to Europe on a Fulbright.
  • Witnessing President Obama posthumously award the Medal of Honor to WWI hero Sgt. Henry Johnson at a White House ceremony.
  • Celebrating marriage equality with the community after a landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court.

Thanks for all you do for our community.

Crystal Springs Restored Monthly Utility Statements
are Here
Watershed Report Cards Investing in East Portland
Small Businesses
Arts Education Matters New Affordable Homes in
North Macadam
Justice for
Sergeant Henry Johnson

2015 Pride Parade:
Celebrating Equality

BES Director
Michael Jordan
HB 2700:
Expanding Access to Justice
Northwest Dance Project
Steps Out
Improving our
Surplus Property Policy


June 30, 2015

Lilly Lee blog #4


Friday, June 26, was an amazing day. To start off, I attended the grand opening of the Portland Water Bureau’s new Interstate maintenance building with Nick. Here are some of my photos of the event. I got to see the old building versus the new building. I also took a group tour; my favorite part was standing on top of the building. The roof is an eco (green) roof, it also has solar panels, along with a great view of the Fremont Bridge. The whole Interstate building is design to save energy. I also met a women named Catherine Howells, she is a teacher at Portland State. Catherine works with the Water Bureau, and teaches about our water system. Catherine invited me to join her class to visit the Bull Run Watershed, where Portland gets its drinking water. The Bull Run Watershed collects water from rain and snow melt, and more than 17 billion gallons are stored in two reservoirs. The bureau treats the water before it enters the three conduits that bring water to Portland. The water moves through the system by gravity, requiring no fossil fuel consumption to move water from its intake to the main storage reservoir at Powell Butte.


Next, I joined Nick at the Annual David Campbell Memorial service. Here I also took pictures of Nick and the service. At the memorial service I met Police Assistant Chief Modica, he was great and told me I should intern for the Police Bureau. He said if I am interested he will buy me coffee, then he gave me his card. See he is just the sweetest. I met a lot of great leaders serving for Portland. One of he firefighters sang Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole's version of Somewhere over the Rainbow - it was very beautifully sung. When Fire Bureau Chief Jannsens introduced Nick as the former Commissioner in charge of the Portland Fire Bureau, I cheered for Nick. Everyone was completely silent, and turned to see who Nick's fan was. I saw Nick chuckle a little, then I was completely embarrassed!!!


After Friday's Supreme Court ruling, I joined Nick at a rally for LGBTQ equality - it felt very lively. There was a lot of energy, love and support in the crowd. The weather was very warm; however, it did not seem to bother anyone. Love was too great. From the overcrowded crowd, I could experience first-hand that people who are gay are looking for acceptance and equal rights. Prior to the ruling, 37 states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage.


Last, I visited Zenger Farm, and I ran into one of my scholarship cohort members, Raisa. She is volunteering at the Zenger Farm. The structure of the farm has a beautiful balcony, along with a brand new building. I got to meet and chat with the loving couple whom designed the new building. The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services purchased the land in 1994. BES saw opportunity for this land, and today Zenger Farm is an official and sustainable public space. 


Friday could not have been any better!

June 29, 2015

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