POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

Monthly Statements Arrive for City Utility Customers

You asked, we listened! The City’s two utility bureaus, Environmental Services and Water, value excellent customer service. In response to customer requests, we are excited to offer an option to pay monthly – rather than quarterly – to the 97% of customers who are eligible.


To keep administrative costs down, the monthly statement option was initially limited to paperless (e-bill) customers when it launched in October 2013. When we heard from some customers that the e-bill requirement was a barrier, we began working to remove it. We committed to removing that requirement before 2015, and beat our deadline, launching the free and voluntary program in November 2014. As of Jan. 27, 2015, 13,122 customers are already signed up. ...Keep reading.


Portland offers monthly mailed water/sewer statements

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


Monthly water, sewer bills now available

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

January 28, 2015

Crystal Clear


Last fall, the City celebrated the grand re-opening of Westmoreland Park and the restoration of Crystal Springs Creek in Southeast Portland.


Straw Bale Films, a local film company that focuses on sustainable practices and environmental concerns, produced Crystal Clear, a short film about the incredible restoration. 


The film highlights the history, restoration, and success of Crystal Springs Creek. The City’s Bureau of Environmental Services was proud to partner with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Reed College, and other community groups to restore the creek’s natural environment. 


Crystal Springs is a major tributary to Johnson Creek, and flows into the Willamette River.  It’s an important habitat for salmon, birds, and other wildlife.  


Check out the Bureau of Environmental Services’ website for more information. 

January 27, 2015

Stewardship Grants

The Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) is accepting pre-applications for their Stewardship Grants. 


The grants are for innovative projects that help improve Portland’s neighborhoods and communities, as well as watershed health.  Examples of funded projects include youth leadership and skills development, community gardens and green spaces, art and education, and more!


Since 1995, the CWSP has provided over $867,000 in grants to local organizations!


For the average residential sewer ratepayer, the grants represent an investment of about 24 cents a year, and every grant dollar invested leverages three dollars in volunteer time and similar contributions. 


Pre-applications are due by 4:00pm on Friday, February 6.   Selected applicants will be invited to submit full applications in the spring. 


For more information, visit the Bureau of Environmental Services’ website.

January 26, 2015

Free Fix-It Fair

Check out the City’s first Fix-It Fair of 2015 tomorrow!


Fix-It Fairs are free events that teach you simple ways to save money and keep your family healthy.


Visit exhibits and participate in workshops from many of our community partners. Experts will be on hand to discuss water and energy savings, health, nutrition, community resources, recycling, and more!

Staff from the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services will be at the fair – stop by their booths to learn more about watershed health and water conservation.


The fairs provide free, professional childcare and lunch.   


Fix-It Fair

Saturday, January 24 9:30 am – 3 pm

Rosa Parks Elementary School

8960 N Woolsey Ave.


Can’t make it tomorrow? The next Fix-It fair is Saturday, February 21. Some workshops will be offered in Spanish! 


Fix-It FairClases en español

Saturday, February 21, 9:30 am – 3 pm

David Douglas High School

1001 SE 135th Ave.


Visit Fix-It Fair's website for more information. 

January 23, 2015

Friday Roundup

January 23, 2015

New plants "roll out" at Stephens Creek

In addition to providing sewer services and managing stormwater in the city, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) also works to protect – and even restore – our local wetlands and watersheds.


In southwest Portland, wetland habitat had been lost to development along the lower Willamette River. The Stephens Creek Enhancement Project is working to restore a 3.5-acre area.


BES crews recently installed new plants at the mouth of Stephens Creek and the Willamette River. Since new plants often have a hard time surviving the strong currents of the Willamette, crews used an innovative product to restore vegetation.


They rolled out wetland sod mats – woven mats that already have plants with strong root systems incorporated into them! They were grown hydroponically in Idaho, delivered by boat to the shore, and staked down in place.


We expect these heartier plants to survive river currents, prevent erosion, and enhance the natural habitat around Stephens Creek. If successful, this method could be used in future restoration projects!


Visit BES's website to learn more about the City's watershed services.

January 22, 2015

Bridge City from a new view

St Johns Bridge from Adam Simmons on Vimeo.


Portland is known for its beautiful bridges. A favorite is the St. Johns Bridge, spanning over the Willamette River in North Portland.


Adam Simmons, a video and sound student at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, recently captured the St. Johns Bridge from a whole new angle.


You can watch Adam's videos on his vimeo channel. Thanks for sharing, Adam!

January 21, 2015

Celebrating the life and legacy of MLK Jr.

Yesterday, Nick was honored to attend two celebrations of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


First, the 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, sponsored by the Skanner Foundation. Nick was pleased to join his public advocate, George Hocker, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and bureau Directors Paul Scarlett and Mike Abbaté, at a table.


Thanks to Bernie and Bobbie Foster for once again organizing a wonderful community celebration, punctuated by a call to rousing action by Benjamin Chavis.


Later, Nick attended the 30th annual Keep Alive the Dream, a tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. King at Highland Christian Center in Northeast Portland.  He was pleased to tell the story of Sergeant Henry Johnson — and his 100-year-old struggle for justice.


As Dr. King once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”


Special thanks to the sponsors of these wonderful events!

January 20, 2015

Unid@s panel


This afternoon, Nick was proud to join Latino Network Executive Director Carmen Rubio for a Unid@s panel discussion, Sustaining Latino Civic Engagement: Advocacy, Candidacy, and Service


Latino Network provides a multitude of opportunities, programs, and advocacy for the Latino community in the greater Portland area. Their Unid@s program focuses on encouraging Latino leadership and civic engagement.


Check out Latino Network’s website for more information about this wonderful organization. 

January 16, 2015

Friday Roundup

January 15, 2015

Portland’s green infrastructure

Green Innovations from PortlandBES on Vimeo.


The Bureau of Environmental Services produced a wonderful video about Portland’s innovative green infrastructure. 


The video features many projects funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA provides grants to public and private projects throughout Portland.  Between 2002 and 2014, the EPA awarded Portland $3.4 million in grants!


Portland’s green infrastructure projects demonstrate sustainable, low-impact stormwater management.  It includes green street planters, rain gardens, vegetated swales, ecoroofs, and more!


Green infrastructure helps manage stormwater runoff.  That protects rivers and streams, replenishes groundwater, and keeps our watersheds healthy. 


Check out the Bureau of Environmental Services’ website to learn more. 

January 15, 2015

It's a toad's life

One of our local critters, the western toad, is identified by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as a vulnerable species.  That means that it will likely become an endangered species unless circumstances improve. 


One of toads’ biggest threats is breeding habitat degradation.


The Portland Water Bureau’s Environmental Compliance Group works hard every year to enhance the toads’ natural habitat in the Bull Run Watershed. Their work helps create successful breeding grounds.


Crews cut and remove reed canary grass, an invasive species, from several breeding sites. This allows sunlight to heat shallow pools where eggs and young toads reside. 


The annual project is part of the Bull Run Water Supply Habitat Conversation Plan (HCP).  It’s a 50-year plan to protect and improve aquatic habitats at the Bull Run River and Sandy River Basin.


Visit the Portland Water Bureau’s website to learn more. 

January 14, 2015

The arts and culture industry

The National Endowment for the Arts published several reports about the arts and culture industry – and, it’s flourishing!


One of the reports, The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account, examines how the arts and culture industry has impacted the U.S. economy. 


In 2012, arts and culture brought in nearly $700 billion nationally! Across the U.S., 4.5 million people work in the production of arts and cultural goods, and receive over $330 billion in compensation.  


The arts and cultural industry isn’t just beneficial for the national economy - it’s also great for local economies.  For every 100 jobs created by demand for the Arts, 62 more jobs are also created. 


Other reports focus on what motivates people to attend arts events, and why. 


Exposure to arts during childhood is a strong predictor for attending arts and culture events as adults – more so than education, gender, age, or income.  Over half of all American adults attended at least one arts and culture performance or exhibit last year.  That’s 120 million people!


People typically go to socialize with friends and family, learn new things, and to support their community. 


In Portland, we are fortunate to have a thriving arts and culture scene. 


Nick is proud to be Council liaison to the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).  RACC provides many arts and culture grants to local artists, arts organizations, and schools in the greater Portland area. They also offer a plethora of opportunities for the public to enjoy diverse arts and culture events, exhibits, and programs.  The City of Portland – through our taxpayers – is RACC’s largest source of funding.


Visit the National Endowment for the Arts website for more information about the reports.  Check out RACC’s calendar for local arts and culture events.

Photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts.

January 13, 2015

Friday Roundup

January 9, 2015

Pliable Planes

Local weaver and textile designer Jessica Hickey provides unique artistic expression in the Portland Building’s latest art installation, Pliable Planes


The installation is a quilted, scaled-down version of the Portland Building.  The soft façade depicts hidden parallels in architecture and textiles, including the visual language of patterned grids and lines.


The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) sponsors the Installation Art Series.  Selected through a juried process, each installation questions common perspectives through art. 


Pliable Plans is up from January 13 until February 6 in the Portland Building’s lobby.   


Check out RACC’s website for more information. 

Portland Building Installation Art Series

1120 SW 5th Avenue

8 am – 5 pm

Photo courtesy of RACC.

January 8, 2015

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