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.

Senior 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.”

Jamie Dunphy

Policy Advisor



Jamie serves as Policy Advisor for the Commissioner, handling a broad range of City legislative and policy issues, as well as serving as liaison to Venture Portland and the small business community.


Jamie is a graduate of Portland State University, Portland Community College, and Grant High School. He began his career in public service in Portland nearly a decade ago. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Lents Neighborhood in Southeast Portland.


In his "free time," Jamie likes backpacking, camping, gardening, and playing music.


Favorite Quote: "No raindrop believes it's to blame for the flood."

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 Garden.

Asena Lawrence

Office Manager, Scheduler, and Community Liaison




Asena serves as the Commissioner's Office Manager, Scheduler, and Community Liaison. She also serves as the Commissioner’s liaison to the Office of Equity and Human Rights, Office of International Affairs, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. 


Asena received her Bachelor's degree in International Studies, the Middle East, with a certificate in Contemporary Turkish Studies. She is currently completing 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

Paige Spence

Policy and Communications Advisor


(503) 823-3358


Paige serves as the Policy and Communications Advisor to the Commissioner. She also works with constituents on a wide variety of issues, and serves as the Commissioner’s liaison to the Regional Arts & Culture Council.


Paige graduated from the University of Georgia and Lewis & Clark Law School prior to beginning her career in public service.


Her summers involve beaches, city parks, and backpacking trips, and her winters involve skiing, snow shoeing, and crafting.


Favorite quote: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Betsy Ruth Quitugua

Constituent Services Specialist


(503) 823-3597


Betsy serves as the Commissioner’s Constituent Services Specialist. She will be working on multiple issue's that address our office.


She is a student at Portland State University, working on her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. Betsy also works at the Bureau of Environmental Services, working under Facilities and Admin Division.


On her days off, Betsy enjoys exploring the great outdoors. She has been to 6 of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. She is also a huge ‘foodie’ and has been to many great restaurants around Portland.

Lejla Biberic

Multnomah Youth Commissioner


Lejla is the official elected liaison for the Multnomah Youth Commission (MYC). Her job is to communicate with Commissioner Fish about projects involving the MYC, as well as write monthly web stories, and participate in other special projects.


Lejla is a sophomore at Cleveland High School and is first generation American, born here in Portland. She is bi-lingual, and is fluent in English and Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian. 

Lejla is passionate about school and her community. In her free time, she loves playing sports, including basketball, Taekwon-Do, tennis, and swimming. Lejla is a big Blazer fan. When not watching games and playing sports, she is exploring the city.