POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish About Us

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Commissioner Fish's Team



Sonia Schmanski

Chief of Staff




Sonia serves as Chief of Staff. In that role she leads the Fish Team and is primary liaison to City budget issues. She has held a variety of roles in the office, beginning as a temporary staff person in October 2008 and most recently serving as Policy Director. In 2012 and 2013, she was liaison to the Portland Housing Bureau, and was liaison to the Portland Water Bureau until assuming the role of Chief.


Sonia graduated from Boston University with a degree in International Relations and spent time at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., before returning to Portland in the fall of 2008.


She is a 6th-generation Oregonian, a Portland native, and a proud Grant High alum.


Jim Blackwood, Jr.

Policy Director




Jim serves as a Policy Director for our office, and is the Commissioner's primary liaison to the Bureau of Environmental Services. He also serves as liaison to a number of non-portfolio bureaus.


Jim is passionate about the great variety of live music in Portland, is a sports car racing fan, and is an avid gardener.


He is a proud, lifelong fan of the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants.


Favorite Quote: “They do not dwell in remorse about the past, nor do they brood about the future: they abide in the present: therefore are radiant.”


Aja Blair

Scheduler & Office Manager




Aja is the executive assistant to Commissioner Fish. He manages incoming scheduling requests and the office budget. Previously, Aja served as our Constituent Services Specialist, acting as the first point of contact for office visitors and callers.


Aja is a graduate of Portland State University with a degree in Arts and Letters and a minor in Theater Arts. Before joining the Fish team in 2012, Aja worked for Starbucks Coffee Company as a store manager in downtown Portland.


Aja has a passion for travel, a flair for cooking spicy food, and a love for the city of Portland.



Liam Frost

Policy Director




Liam is a Policy Director and serves as the Commissioner's liaison to the Water Bureau.  He also works on a variety of issues, including the Portland Harbor Superfund site.


Liam began his career in public service as a case manager for families and individuals facing eviction in San Francisco.  Before joining our office in 2013, he worked on the policy team at the Portland Housing Bureau. Liam grew up in Wales, has lived in Mexico and Japan, and is a lifelong Swansea City soccer fan.


His favorite place to visit in Portland, at any time of the year, is the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. 


Jenny Kalez

Constituent Relations Coordinator




Jenny serves as the Commissioner's Constituent Relations Coordinator, responding to constituent questions and concerns.


She serves as liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Portland'5 Centers for the Arts (formerly PCPA), and other arts organizations. 


Jenny has a degree in Sociology and Spanish from Pacific University, and a Masters in Public Administration from Portland State University, with a focus on public outreach and communication. She is a lifelong Oregonian, growing up on the Oregon coast in Newport.


Favorite quote: "A government can be no better than the public opinion which sustains it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Asena Lawrence

Constituent Services Specialist




Asena serves as the Constituent Services Specialist. She is the first person you will talk with when you call or visit our office.  She also serves as the Commissioner’s Liaison to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Elders in Action. 


Asena received her Bachelor's degree in International Studies, the Middle East, with a certificate in Contemporary Turkish Studies.  She is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. Asena is a NEW Leadership Oregon alumna with the Center for Women's Leadership.


She has sincere appreciation and enthusiasm for diversity and cultural expression. During the summer, Asena enjoys having adventures on the Aegean coast of Turkey.


Favorite quote: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” ~ A. P. W. B. Dumbledore