POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

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

Celebrating Interstate


This morning Nick was proud to welcome Mayor Hales, Commissioner Novick, and Commissioner Fritz to celebrate the dedication of the Water Bureau’s Interstate Operations Maintenance Facility.


The Interstate Facility is an essential part of Portland’s drinking water system, from forest to faucet. Interstate houses more than 300 employees, a water control center, water quality laboratory, storage area, administration offices, and more.


Part of the facility is nearly 100 years old, so it lacks modern safety standards – and is known to “rain” inside the building on stormy days!


This morning, we celebrated the grand opening of a new 28,000 square foot office building, which came in on time and under budget. The no-frills building was built to LEED Gold standards, and its eco-friendly design conserves water and energy, and uses solar power. We anticipate saving almost 370,000 kilowatt hours of energy thanks to our green building standards. That’s the equivalent of burning about 194 tons of coal.


Members of the Portland Fire and Rescue’s Honor Guard helped celebrate the event. They raised the American flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance. 


The rest of the facility is set to be completed in early 2016. Check out the Water Bureau’s website for more information. 


Portland Water Bureau debuts sparkling new $50 million maintenance, operations buildings

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian

June 26, 2015

The Weekly Catch

Portland Water Bureau debuts sparkling new $50 million maintenance, operations buildings

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Hundreds celebrate US Supreme Court marriage ruling: 'Love has won,and we are not done'

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Gay marriage: Decision ends any doubts for same-sex couples in Oregon

Jeff Mapes in The Oregonian


My View: Protecting our common home

Nick Fish in the Portland Tribune


A son’s lesson on Father’s Day

Nick Fish in Street Roots News


Father’s Day

The Oregonian


Sunday Parkways in North Portland celebrates Father’s Day, summertime and cycling

Kristi Turnquist in The Oregonian


Mt. tabor reservoir decision pushed 3 weeks

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Council delays Mt. Tabor reservoir vote

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Portland explained: Why Portland is taking Mount Tabor, Washington Park reservoirs offline

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Portland approves Washington Park reservoir demolition

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


Hall Monitor: An End to the Shouting

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury


Council to decide fate of Mount Tabor reservoirs on Thursday

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Council to consider demolishing Washington Park reservoirs

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


It's Official: South Waterfront Is About To Be A Pearl District ReduxDirk Vanderhart in the Portland Mercury


City agrees to Zidell deal on South Waterfront

Steve Law in the Portland Tribune


Portland approves 'make or break' South Waterfront deal with Zidell

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


This is How Uber Takes Over a City

Karen Weise in the Bloomberg Business Week


Uber vs. Portland Gets the Bloomberg Businessweek Feature Treatment

Aaron Mesh in the Willamette Week


City, county to update Climate Action Plan

Steve Law in the Portland Tribune


Vision Zero: ‘Commit to changing behavior’

Jennifer Anderson in the Portland Tribune


Council formally adopts new budget

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune 


‘Louie Louie’ sing-a-long rocks the steps of Portland’s City Hall (video)

Jessica Greif in The Oregonian


Panel starts adding anti-gentrification planks in Portland comprehensive plan

Steve Law in the Portland Tribune

June 26, 2015

Explore Hawthorne

Summer is the perfect time to explore Portland’s eclectic neighborhood business districts. 


The Hawthorne Boulevard Business District is one of Portland’s great destinations. This historical district is pedestrian friendly, and offers something for everyone. It’s filled with unique boutiques, delicious restaurants, fun nightlife, and important neighborhood services. 


Business districts and neighborhood small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. They strengthen our community and support good causes. For every dollar spent at a local small business, 70 cents stays in our community.


Nick is proud to be Council liaison to Venture Portland, a local non-profit dedicated to supporting Portland’s dynamic business districts and small businesses.


Check out Venture Portland’s website to find your local business district, and to learn more about upcoming events, including summer street fairs! 

June 25, 2015

Louie Louie

Are you ready to sing along – and be part of a Guinness World Record?


On Thursday, local non-profit Know Your City is hosting The World’s Largest Louie Louie Sing-A-Long here at City Hall. As Portland’s Arts Commissioner, Nick was proud to sponsor this one-of-a-kind event.

Louie Louie is a world-famous rock ‘n’ roll song, best known for the 1963 hit version by The Kingsmen. Not everyone knows that this famous rendition was recorded right here in Portland! Louie Louie is the most popular recording ever to come out of the city of Portland.


The song became an international hit – it even prompted an FBI investigation to make sure there were no profane lyrics hidden in the hard-to-decipher song.


Join us on Thursday to sing Louie Louie all together. A Guinness World Record representative will be on hand to count all the singers.  


The event will feature great musical acts, including The Kingsmen, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls Band, Heavy City, and The Beat Goes On Marching Band. An official proclamation declaring June 25 as “Celebrate Louie Louie Day” will also be read.


Come hungry! Voodoo Doughnuts will be dishing up their new Blouie Louie doughnuts, made especially for the event, and Brew Dr. Kombucha will be handing out beverages.


Know Your City is a local non-profit dedicated to providing programs that engage the public in arts and social justice. This event is a fundraiser for the non-profit, and is part of their Sing-A-Song of Portland walking tour. The tours take visitors through a journey of Portland’s musical past.


Check out Know Your City’s website for more information about this event.


The World’s Largest Louie Louie Sing-A-Long

Thursday, June 25, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Portland City Hall Plaza

1221 SW 4th Ave.

June 24, 2015

Our Common Home

Last week Pope Francis issued a call to action on climate change, declaring that “[T]he climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”


This week, the City Council will consider updates to the City-County Climate Action Plan.


In today’s Portland Tribune, Nick describes the many ways our City’s utilities—the Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services—are answering the call. And he explains why green practices and policies are good for the environment and for our ratepayers.


Read more in Nick’s essay, “Protecting our Common Home,” published in today’s Portland Tribune.


My View: Protecting our common home

Nick Fish in the Portland Tribune


Draft 2015 Update: City Climate Action Plan

June 23, 2015

Celebrating Father's Day

On Sunday, we celebrated Father’s Day. 


A number of local stories caught our eye.


A son’s lesson on Father’s Day

Nick Fish in Street Roots

Street Roots featured an essay written by Nick, sharing some of the lessons he learned from his father, Ham Fish. 


Father’s Day

The Oregonian

The Oregonian featured a diverse array of local dads, including Nick, Portland Timbers Midfielder Darlington Nagbe, Black Parent Initiative CEO Charles McGee III, and many more.


Sunday Parkways in North Portland celebrates Father’s Day, summertime and cycling

Kristi Turnquist in The Oregonian

The Oregonian featured Water Bureau meter inspector Curtis Roth, who volunteered with the Sunday Parkways with his son Jacob.  They rode their bikes together along the route, and dispensed water to thirsty participants. 

June 22, 2015

HB 2700: Expanding access to justice, serving Oregon families in need

Last week, Nick was honored to join Governor Kate Brown, Representatives Jennifer Williamson and Tobias Read, and other community leaders as the Governor ceremonially signed HB 2700 into Law.


HB 2700 authorizes Oregon courts to direct unclaimed damages from class action lawsuits to fund an endowment for legal aid services.  Most states already have similar laws in place.


Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) is one of the non-profits which will benefit from the endowment.  LASO provides representation on civil cases to low-income families in Oregon. They work on over 8,000 cases each year – but only about 15% of eligible Oregonians receive the help they need.


In January, Nick submitted a letter of support for the bill to the House Committee on Judiciary: “We cannot allow a two-tiered system of laws – one for the wealthy, and one for the rest of us,” he shared.


With the Governor’s signature, the bill will expand significantly expand access to justice for thousands of deserving Oregon families.


Thanks to Governor Brown and Representatives Williamson and Read for their leadership.


Steve Duin: A golden opportunity to repair class-action law and rescue Legal Aid

Steve Duin in The Oregonian

June 22, 2015

The Weekly Catch

Spring 2015 Riverviews


Hundreds attend Pride Northwest Festival 2015 in Portland

Kim De Guzman in the Sun Times


Local Public Art Projects Receive National Awards

GoLocalPDX Arts Team


Three Portland projects named among the nation’s best public art

Entertainment Photos in The Oregonian


An ecoroofs for a Dumpster? Work remains on Portland utility spending: Editorial Agenda

The Oregonian Editorial Board


Portland News and Events for June 20-27, 2015

The Skanner


Portland launches Vision Zero efforts

Jennifer Anderson in the Portland Tribune


Portland’s A “Vision Zero” City Now. What’s That Going To Mean?

Dirk Vanderhart in the Portland Mercury


Council sets to adopt $3.7 billion budget

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

June 19, 2015

Young urban raptors

Three young red-tailed hawks were recently found on downtown streets, near the Portland Building. The fledglings left their urban nest on the Wells Fargo Tower too early, and were too young to fly or hunt by themselves. 


The Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center took in the young hawks for a short while, and nursed them back to health.


The Audubon Society is a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting education and protection of native birds and other wildlife in our community.


After a week in rehabilitation, they were released on the Portland Building’s ecoroofs, as a safe place to learn to fly. Their parents joined the birds on the ecoroofs and have resumed their parental duties. That includes bringing dead rats, squirrels, and pigeons to the hungry young hawks. 


The Bureau of Environmental Services created the ecoroofs on the Portland Building. Ecoroofs manage stormwater, filter pollutants, help keep buildings cool, reduce electricity costs, and are simply beautiful. They also serve as a great location for urban raptors to learn to fly!


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


Photo courtesy of The Audubon Society of Portland.

June 18, 2015

Lilly Lee - Week 3

This week has been crazy busy! On Monday Asena was out for her friend’s wedding. Which gives me a chance to perform the skills I’ve learned from Asena in the last two weeks. 


Backing up Asena while she’s away, I answered phone calls, prepped the Council binder, opened Nick’s mail, and collected all information from the phone calls and mail to archive in binders and Excel documents.


Along with covering Asena’s day off, I continued to work on the Interstate project. Nick gave me a new assignment: researching about Memorial Coliseum. What is really interesting about the Memorial Coliseum is that the building is an indoor arena located in the oldest part of what is now known as the Rose Quarter in Portland. The arena is home to the Portland Winterhawks. I am fascinated by the building structure, it was designed by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.


New assignments are coming my way left and right, a never ending cycle of projects. Being able to work on individual projects, search updated news feeds, and listen to Council meetings is a little hard to tackle; and impressive.


A new project I am working on from Liam is to research the Climate Action Plan. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and Portland City Council have a goal of reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. We surely need every resident in Oregon to work together to help achieve this goal.


Story Time:

Every Monday we have a staff meeting, and Nick talked about how he bought some books at the Rose City Book Fair over the weekend. He got a book called Manual of Oregon Trees and Shrubs, and asked if anyone wanted to borrow it. I raised my hand because I wanted see if this book could potentially be a gift for my partner. He has been a lead climber for over almost two years now, and is working on getting his arborist certification. Wanting to buy this book, I looked online, and it was way out of my price range. When I told Nick thank you for letting me borrow the book, I also told him I wanted to buy this book for my partner because he’s working on being a certified arborist. Nick gave me his copy, and he signed the book with a message. Wow! Nick is a wonderful person. And I’m grateful to be working in his office. 

June 18, 2015

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