POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

Low-Income Utility Discount Report

Earlier this year, Nick convened a group of community members and City staff and asked them to explore ways to expand the discount offered by the City’s utility bureaus to low-income customers.


Most renters, especially those in apartment buildings, can’t access the low-income discount because they don’t have their own water meter and utility account with the City. Recognizing that many of the most vulnerable people in our community are not being reached by the current program, including older adults on fixed incomes and families using Section 8 vouchers, Nick asked the work group to think creatively about ways to expand access to the discount program and reach more people.


This week, the group submitted its final report to Nick. He has asked the new Portland Utility Board (PUB) to consider the work group’s report and provide him with a recommendation about next steps.


The report presents some potential solutions to this complex issue, including working more closely with affordable housing providers.


The conversation has already produced results. The Portland Water Bureau, which manages billing for both utilities, has enrolled more customers by working with our local housing authority, Home Forward, to identify renters who qualify for the program.


The bigger challenge is finding a way to reach other low-income Portlanders in the larger rental market. The work group’s recommendations offer possible paths forward.


Low-Income Discount Report


Discount Report Appendices

October 7, 2015

Design for Equity


Holst Architecture was recently featured at the 2015 Seattle Design Festival, which had the theme Design For Equity. Holst focused on three special Portland-area projects, and how good design makes a difference for the families who call them home.


The City of Portland has been proud to partner with Holst. All three projects - Bud Clark Commons, Glisan Commons, and the LifeWorks Project Network & Beech Street Apartments - reflect the core values of Portland and Holst: beautiful, functional, and green buildings that serve people.


Nick is especially proud of two of the projects during his tenure as Housing Commissioner. The LifeWorks Project Network & Beech Street Apartments provide a unique service, thanks to LifeWorks Northwest and Home Forward. In addition to providing safe, affordable homes, the building also provides culturally-focused residential treatment for women recovering from substance abuse. And Bud Clark Commons is the cornerstone in our fight to end homelessness. The building not only provides permanent supportive homes to our community's most vulnerable, it also hosts a men's shelter and a Day Center where people can do laundry, take a shower, apply for jobs, and more.


Special thanks to Holst for sharing these important community projects - and for being a great partner in building a better city!

October 7, 2015

The State of Our Public Utilities

Nick has had the honor of leading the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau for over two years.


From delivering high quality, safe, and reliable drinking water to nearly one million people, to pioneering green and cost-effective approaches to managing stormwater, our public utilities provide essential services to our community.


Last week, Nick shared his first annual “State of Our Public Utilities” report in the latest issue of Street Roots.


The report is now available online, but we also encourage you to buy a copy of Street Roots from your local vendor. This Thursday, Nick will proudly join the Street Roots family at their annual fundraising breakfast.


Nick is honored to serve as your City Commissioner, and to work with the dedicated and talented professionals at our two public utilities.


The State of Our Public Utilities

Nick Fish in Street Roots

October 6, 2015

Celebrating Portlandia’s 30th birthday

On Thursday, October 8, join Nick and the Regional Arts & Culture Council in celebrating a big milestone in our community: Portlandia’s 30th birthday!


30 years ago, Mayor Bud Clark and 10,000 fellow Portlanders welcomed Portlandia to the City of Roses as she arrived by barge on the Willamette River. The 6.5 ton statue was created by renowned artist Raymond Kaskey, who also made the World War II Memorial in Washington DC.


Portlandia is one of the largest copper statues in the country – second only to the Statue of Liberty. It was inspired by Portland’s city seal, and paid for by our Percent for Art program, which celebrates its 35th birthday this year. Portlandia remains one the most iconic symbols of our city.


Our Portland City Council will be joined by former Mayor Bud Clark, former Commissioner Mike Lindberg, and other special guests. The great Storm Large and students from Chapman Elementary School will lead us in singing “Happy Birthday” to our copper goddess.


Join us at the Standard Insurance Plaza across from Portlandia, from 12 – 1:30 pm. Special thanks to The Standard, Cupcake Jones, and Starbucks for sponsoring the event.


Portlandia’s 30th Birthday

The Standard Insurance Plaza

1120 S.W. 5th Ave.

Thursday, October 8, Noon – 1:30 pm


Portlandia Turns 30

Matt Strangel in Artslandia


Quiz: How well do you know the Portlandia statue on her 30th birthday? (PHOTOS)

Joseph Rose in The Oregonian


Party like it’s 1985 for Portlandia’s birthday

Kevin Trevellyan in the Portland Tribune

October 6, 2015

Tall Trees in City Hall

As Arts Commissioner, Nick is proud to host an exciting art exhibit in our City Hall atrium: The Tall Trees of Portland


Hellion Gallery owner Matt Wagner authored the book, The Tall Trees of Portland, which features 40 talented local artists and their creative, colorful, and inspiring art. In the book, the artists also share their workspaces, their favorite things about our city, and even whether or not they use an umbrella when it rains.


The vibrant City Hall exhibit showcases art by 30 of the artists featured in the Tall Trees book. Stop by and see fascinating sculptures, paintings, sketches, and more. 


The Tall Trees of Portland art exhibit is presented by Hellion Gallery and Overcup Press, which published the book. The show is free and open to the public, and runs through October 15.


Join us for an opening reception on Tuesday, October 6 at 4pm, and meet some of the artists!


Checkout Overcup Press’ website to learn more about The Tall Trees of Portland.


The Tall Trees of Portland art exhibit

Portland City Hall Atrium, first floor

1221 SW 4th Ave.

8 am – 5 pm

October 5, 2015

Let 'er Buck!

Today, we were honored to welcome Pendleton Mayor Phil Houk to our City Hall office.


Nick had the opportunity to thank Mayor Houk again for his hospitality during Nick's recent trip to the Pendleton Round-Up.

October 5, 2015

The Weekly Catch

The State of our Public Utilities (buy today's issue from a Street Roots vendor near you)

Nick Fish in Street Roots


Airbnb Is Making Portland’s Rental Market Even Tighter

Shelby R. Kind in the Portland Mercury


Residents want L.A. to do more to enforce short-term rental regulations

Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times


Portland abandons auto pay for utility bills to comply with credit card rules

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Portland pulls plug on auto pay for water bills

Kerry Tomlinson in KATU News


Portland stops Auto Pay for utility bills

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Hall Monitor: Surprise! It’s an Emergency!

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury


What’s Portland’s Housing Emergency Worth? $30 Million For Now.

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury


Will $30 million pledge cut Portland homelessness by half?
Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


Portland's 'housing emergency' plan to be released Wednesday

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


Questions remain about Post Office land deal

Steve Law in the Portland Tribune

October 1, 2015

Celebrating women leaders


Today, Nick was pleased to attend the Center for Women’s Leadership’s 9th Annual Power Lunch!

The Luncheon honored 5 incredible women in Oregon: U.S. Bank Oregon President Malia Wasson, Honorable Chief Judge Ann Aiken, Latino Network Executive Director Carmen Rubio, natural hair stylist Amber Starks, and Governor Kate Brown.


The Center provides pivotal tools for emerging women leaders. It is dedicated to educating and empowering women in high school and college to break glass ceilings and pursue leadership roles in their careers. Students go through rigorous and inspiring educational programs, skills training, and networking opportunities with top women leaders from around the state.


Our own Constituent Services Specialist, Asena Lawrence, completed the Center’s NEW Leadership Oregon summer conference in 2013 as a student at Portland State University.


Special thanks to the Center’s Executive Director Sunny Petit for her continued hard work in providing a wonderful place for emerging women leaders.


Learn more about the Center for Women’s Leadership on their website

October 1, 2015

Go Ducks!

We were honored to have two Ducks join us today: former quarterback Joey Harrington and former offensive lineman Ryan Schmid! Go Ducks!

September 30, 2015

Stormwater for Challenging Sites

We may have forgotten over the long, hot summer – but it rains a lot in Portland. Our heavy rains can make it challenging to manage stormwater in our streets and at our homes and businesses.


The Bureau of Environmental Services is partnering with the SW Watershed Resource Center, Green Girl LLC, and other local organizations to offer a Stormwater Challenge Workshop Series.


This Sunday, check out the first class, Plan & Design Best Practices for Challenging Sites.


The introductory workshop explains what stormwater is, and its relationship with watershed health. Learn how to create landscape designs that are safe, simple, and environmentally friendly, regardless of your property’s condition. The class will visit several Portland-area homes, perform on-site assessments, and work together to create site designs.


In November, attend hands-on classes where you’ll work on real construction projects that reduce runoff and improve stormwater management.


The Stormwater Challenge Workshop Series is free and open to all. Visit the SW Watershed Resource Center‘s website to learn more and to register.


Plan & Design Best Practices for Challenging Sites

Sunday, October 4, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Multnomah Art Center

7688 SW Capitol HWY

September 29, 2015

Apothecary for the Anthropocene

Talented artist Deanna Pindell takes viewers on a mysterious and thought-provoking journey in the Portland Building’s latest art installation, Apothecary for the Anthropocene.


The intriguing installation explores people’s causal relationship with mortality, and human existence on earth. It also seeks to answer an important question: can the climate crisis be transformed by self-reflection and cultural change?


Apothecary for the Anthropocene is set in dark apothecary, surrounded in deep blue. Viewers are presented with riddles on the walls, and intricate clues hidden within apothecary jars. It also includes a journal that visitors can read and add their own thoughtful comments. Concealed within its pages are answers to the riddles, as well as poems and other interesting information.


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


Apothecary for the Anthropocene is up now through October 23 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.

September 28, 2015

The Weekly Catch

48 Hours with the Pendleton Round-Up


Portland’s Washington Park reservoir project could cost $170 million

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Portland City Council should support ‘pop up’ track proposal: Editorial Agenda 2015

The Oregonian Editorial Board


Mayor Charlie Hales Wants to Declare A Housing State of Emergency

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury


Portland Mayor Says City Must Do More to Address Homelessness

Amelia Templeton in the Portland Tribune


Portland mayor wants ‘housing emergency,’ others want to see his plan

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


My View: The way forward on homelessness

George Devendorf in the Portland Tribune


City Leaders Celebrate Bike Share Passage

GoLocalPDX News Team


City officials celebrate new bike share program

FOX 21 News Staff


Portland celebrates bike share passage at City Hall press conference

Jonathan Maus in Bike Portland


Portland City Council signs off on new bike-share program

Elliot Njus in The Oregonian


It’s official: Portland city council passes bike share plan 4-0

Jonathan Maus in Bike Portland


Portland pot vote delayed over fairness concerns

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


Portland City Council May Grandfather In Medical-Pot Dispensaries Next to Recreational Weed Shops

Coby Hutzler in the Willamette Week


With Recreational Weed a Week Away, The City’s Having a Really Hard Time Licensing Shops

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury


My View: Memorial Coliseum: a modern masterpiece

Stuart Emmons in the Portland Tribune


Steve Duin: Elmo and Meliitta Marquette land case takes another painful turn

Steve Duin in The Oregonian


Donations sought to fix city sculpture

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

September 25, 2015

The final Sunday Parkways of the season

Enjoy the beginning of fall at the last Sunday Parkways of the year.


Sunday Parkways is a great way to get healthy and active while connecting with neighbors. All afternoon, you can walk, bike, or roll down Portland’s largest space – the street – while participating in fun events and activities along the way.


The final route includes the new Tilikum Crossing Bridge of the People and the beautiful Sellwood area. It circles through Westmoreland Park, Sellwood Park, and Brooklyn School Park. At each park, there will be great live music and many fun activities for the whole family.


While at the Brooklyn School Park, check out the Portland Water Bureau’s booth. They’ll have pristine Bull Run water on tap for thirsty participants, as well as lots of information about our water system. 


For more information about Sunday Parkways, visit the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s website.

September 24, 2015

La Luna Nueva

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Milagro Theatre’s La Luna Nueva in Southeast Portland!


La Luna Nueva is a fun and artistic festival that highlights our region’s diversity. Now through September 26, enjoy vibrant cultural performances, live music, theater, children’s events, and much more!


Milagro’s mission is to provide extraordinary Latino theatre, culture, and arts education experiences for the enrichment of all communities.


The Milagro Theatre receives funding from the Regional Art & Culture Council’s (RACC) General Operating Support program. RACC provides ongoing support grants to local arts-based non-profits, schools, and universities.


La Luna Nueva runs through September 26.  Check out Milagro’s website for more information.


La Luna Nueva

Milagro Theatre

525 S.E. Stark St.


Photo courtesy of Milagro Theatre.

September 23, 2015

Getting ready for the “Big One”

Making sure our drinking water system is ready for the “Big One” is a top priority for the Portland Water Bureau.


Later this year, the bureau will seek Council approval to move forward with two big projects to protect our drinking water from the damage of a major earthquake: the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project and the Willamette River Crossing.


Both projects are critical to ensuring that our Bull Run water can travel to Portland’s west side, which includes all of downtown. The Willamette River Crossing project will install a new, seismically resilient pipe under the riverbed, and a new underground reservoir at Washington Park will be able to safely store that water.


This morning, the Water Bureau shared important project updates at a City Council work session, including current designs, cost estimates, and timelines.


We recently learned that the Washington Park site is much more complex than engineers 100 years ago realized. Constructing a new, seismically resilient reservoir is challenging and requires essentially building a second structure—or fortress--around the reservoir itself, protecting it from both landslides and earthquakes.


Staff outlined some creative engineering methods to address these seismic and landslide challenges, including a “shoring” wall that will let the reservoir be flexible and move if the ground is shaking.


These proposed investments will strengthen the City’s seismic resilience, and ensure the Water Bureau can continue to deliver high-quality, safe, and reliable drinking water at all times – even after the “Big One.”


Seismic Resilience Projects Update

Portland Water Bureau


Portland's Washington Park reservoir project could cost $170 million

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian

September 22, 2015

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