POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

Bud Clark Commons: a Top Green Project

In celebration of Earth Day, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released its annual Top Ten Green Projects list – and our very own Bud Clark Commons made the cut!

Based in Washington DC, the AIA has been a leading professional association for architects and allied partners for over 150 years.  Together with its Committee on the Environment, AIA chooses ten prime examples of ecological and sustainable architecture every year.

The only residential building to make this year’s top ten, Bud Clark Commons is the cornerstone of our fight to end homelessness in our community. 

Nick was pleased to bring Bud Clark Commons to life during his time as Housing Commissioner.  The City was proud to partner with Home Forward and Transition Projects to build the Commons, which provides healthcare, shelter, permanent homes, counseling, job training, and more for some of our community’s most vulnerable individuals. The facility has 90 temporary beds for men, 130 furnished studio apartments, a walk-in Day Center, and a beautiful public courtyard.

Transformed by Holst Architecture, the former brownfield site is now a shining example of sustainability.  By using local, green resources, Bud Clark Commons was built to stand the test of time – and earned a LEED Platinum rating.  The building uses a solar hot water heating system, low-flow fixtures and Energy Star appliances, harvests rainwater, has eco-roofs, and employs a large-scale greywater recycling system. 

Congratulations, Bud Clark Commons!

April 23, 2014

Portland celebrates the arts!

From professional dance companies and stage actors to solo sculptors and painters, our arts and culture community plays an important role in making Portland a thriving, vibrant city.


On Wednesday, City Council will be pleased to present an afternoon of arts – starting with the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s (RACC) annual “State of the Arts” report. RACC staff and Board members will share their successes from the last year, including stories about new public art, funded performances, arts education programs, improvements in equity and access, and more. The Council meeting begins at 2pm with a surprise performance!


After RACC’s presentation, we will hear the first annual report from the Arts Oversight Committee (AOC), a public citizen group which oversees the Arts Education & Access Fund income tax.  The AOC will report how nearly $7 million has been invested in our public schools and local arts organizations. The committee will also share their thoughtful recommendations for how to improve tax collection and distribution going forward.


We already know that more than 30,000 children, ages Kindergarten to 5th grade, are enjoying better arts education in our schools. As Arts Commissioner, Nick is pleased to welcome a special art show to City Hall from April 22 – May 2, showcasing the positive impact of Arts Education & Access Fund tax dollars at work. Thanks to the public school teachers and the student artists for sharing their work with us!


“State of the Arts” – 2pm

Arts Oversight Committee Report – 3pm

Portland City Hall

Council Chambers


Elementary School Art Show

April 22 – May 2, 2014, 8am-5pm

City Hall Atrium

Special reception: April 30, 3:30-5pm


Photo courtesy of Woodlawn School

April 22, 2014

Healthy watersheds make for happy beavers

Beavers have a reputation for being a nuisance - with gnawing down trees - but beaver activity is actually an important part of the health of our watersheds. 


Beaver dams help maintain wetlands by preventing erosion and soaking up floodwater.  A young beaver recently moved into the Schweitzer Natural Area, a 30-acre site along Johnson Creek Watershed near Powell Butte. 


The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) restored the Schweitzer Natural Area in 2009.  Watersheds store floodwater during heavy rains, improve water quality by filtering pollutants, and provide habitats for endangered creatures.  Today, the area is flourishing, and the project is a success!  Native beavers like this young one are thriving thanks to the restoration project – and in turn, are helping us maintain the health of our watersheds.


Learn more about the Schweitzer Natural Area on BES’ website.

April 21, 2014

Friday Roundup

April 18, 2014

Right Brain Initiative receives grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

In partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Right Brain Initiative provides art education to students in and around Portland – reaching 14,000 students in our community.  


This year, the Right Brain Initiative has received its third “Art Works” grant from the National Endowment for Arts (NEA)!


The NEA’s Art Works program values artwork itself, how people react to art, and the fact that artwork really is work for many artists and arts professionals in our communities. The arts not only create a rich culture – they are also an essential piece of our economy.


The Right Brain Initiative’s grant goes toward improving K-8 arts programs in Portland’s schools by helping teachers weave the arts into their everyday curricula. Thanks to the grant, local teachers will receive professional training to provide diverse arts education to our students, meet new Common Core State Standards, and enrich students’ classroom experiences. 

April 18, 2014

Grow your own fruit

Spring into spring with delicious fruit trees from Friends of Trees!


This Saturday, Friends of Trees is holding their annual Fruit Tree Giveaway and Shade Tree Clearance sale! Choose among a large selection of free bare-root fruit trees, including apple, pear, plum, and apricot.  Shade trees will also be available for a small fee.


The Bureau of Environmental Services is proud to partner with Friends of Trees, a non-profit dedicated to caring for our city trees and green spaces. Since 1989, Friends of Trees has helped Portland grow one of the best urban canopies in the nation. 


Trees not only provide shade (or even fruit!), they are also a valuable piece of our city’s infrastructure, and a great way to keep our rivers and streams clean. A mature tree can capture more than 500 gallons of stormwater each year – water which would otherwise gather in our streets and flow into our storm drains.


Fruit Tree Giveaway and Shade Tree Clearance Sale

Saturday, April 19 10 am – 1pm

Friends of Trees

3117 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.

April 18, 2014

Kenton Street Fair asks for your support

Portland has many colorful street fairs and events during the spring and summer months.  Street fairs help support our neighborhoods, and are a great way for people to get out and about to meet their neighbors and local businesses.


This Friday, the Kenton Business Association is hosting its Silent Auction Fundraiser.  Proceeds from the fundraiser go towards the annual Kenton Street Fair, held on May 18.  With over 100 items to choose from, you can bid for locally hand crafted treasures, gift certificates, and wine. 


The event is sure to be a fun evening with DJ Sunday hosting. Tickets to the fundraiser include two free drinks – courtesy of Kenton Station and Cooper Hall - and food is provided from an array of neighborhood eateries. 


Tickets are available at retail locations in Kenton.  Check store windows for the Kenton Street Fair Fundraiser poster.


Kenton Street Fair Fundraiser - Silent Auction

April 18, 6 – 9 pm

Bamboo Craftsman Company

2104 N Willis Blvd. 

April 16, 2014

Riverviews in your mailbox

This week, over 300,000 Portland households will receive the Spring 2014 edition of the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) newsletter, Riverviews


Since 2001, Riverviews has been a great way for Portland ratepayers to learn about the work that BES does for our community. For about 20 cents per household, this year’s newsletter gives ratepayers all the basic facts about their waste water and stormwater systems.


Riverviews also includes interesting facts about BES – and even a contest! Did you know that Portland’s first sewer pipe was built in 1864? Test your BES trivia skills and enter to win a tour of a BES facility of your choice.


Check your mailbox for Riverviews to learn more.

April 16, 2014

Summer art camps

Is your child looking for something fun to do this summer?


Enroll him or her in one of the many arts camps offered by organizations around our community.  From dance classes with BodyVox to filmmaking at the Hollywood Theatre, there is something for everyone.  The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has pulled together a list of options. 


RACC believes that art is pivotal for children, and supports local programs - like these summer camps - that provide enriching arts education in our community.  


Register early to ensure your child’s spot.  For more information, visit RACC’s website.

April 14, 2014

Friday Roundup

April 11, 2014

Sprinkle into spring

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming - spring is here!  And it’s the perfect time to look over and revamp your sprinkler system. 


Sprinkler systems don’t always fare well in winter.  Pipes can crack, leading to costly leaks, and broken sprinkler heads can waste water – and money.  The Portland Water Bureau has four simple tips to conserve water this spring and summer:

  • Inspect your systems; check for any clogged, broken or missing sprinkler heads 
  • Check that sprinklers heads are properly attached to hoses, and while you’re at it, check hoses for leaks
  • Make sure that only your yard and plants gets watered – not the driveway or sidewalk
  • Update your system’s schedule with the season, so water isn’t needlessly wasted

For more tips and resources to conserve water for your yards, visit the Portland Water Bureau Efficiency Program’s website.

April 10, 2014

Keep water meters clear of debris and guard dogs

Meter readers from the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) read your water meter to learn how much water your household consumes. 


Meters that are obstructed by objects – such as cars, trash cans, or even landscape - prevents meter readers from reading your meters.  The first time your meter is inaccessible, you will receive a friendly reminder in the mail.  By keeping your box clear, you can avoid unnecessary charges. 


The Portland Water Bureau offers tips to for easy access to your water meter:

  • Trim bushes and grass that cover your meter
  • Reduce plants on the path to your meter
  • Remove all branches hanging six feet or lower, above the meter
  • Let PWB know if you have a guard dog!

Check out PWB's website for more information and resources. 

April 9, 2014

Bringing salmon back to Crystal Springs Creek

The Crystal Springs Creek Restoration Project has been a success!


The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), along with Reed College, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Portland Parks & Rec have worked together - using green infrastructure - to improve Crystal Springs Creek’s water quality.  It is one of Portland’s few free-flowing cold water streams without migratory barriers for salmon, and BES intends to keep it that way.


By replacing old culverts and planting native plants, over a third of the habitat has been restored.  Water temperatures have also decreased nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit, making an ideal environment for salmon to recover and migrate. 


By using green infrastructure, BES reduces flooding and erosion, filters pollutants, provides lush habitats, and increases neighborhood green spaces for healthier watersheds throughout our city.  Green infrastructure protects our water quality, increases public health, and does wonders for our environment. 


OPB's Oregon Field Guide program recently highlighted the Crystal Springs Restoration. Watch the video or visit BES's website to learn more about the project. 

April 8, 2014

Venture Portland supports neighborhood businesses

Last week, Venture Portland awarded $37,000 in grants to our neighborhood business districts for 19 spring and summer projects. The projects range from street fairs and festivals to website support and walking maps. Private businesses matched Venture Portland’s grants 5-to-1, bringing the total investments to more than $200,000! 


Some of the grant-funded projects are geared towards the highly anticipated Major League Soccer All Star Game this August. The special projects and events will give our local businesses the opportunity to show the world the very best of Portland.


Our neighborhood small businesses are the backbone of our community – and of our local economy. Nick is proud to be Council Liaison to Venture Portland, an organization focused on investing in the smart, strategic growth of our neighborhood business districts.


Check out Venture Portland’s Spring/Summer 2014 Grants list for detailed information on all of the awards. 


April 7, 2014

Charles Jordan, 1937 - 2014

This morning, we lost a great leader and urban pioneer: Charles Jordan.


Charles was one of my heroes. A highlight of my public service was honoring Charles at the dedication of the Charles Jordan Community Center in the Portsmouth neighborhood in 2012.


Charles was a trail blazer. His service to Portland dates back to 1974, when he was appointed and later elected as our first African American City Commissioner.


In 1989, he was named Director of Portland Parks & Recreation. Under his leadership, Parks’ budget increased by more than $35 million – and paved the way to the outstanding parks and recreation facilities we enjoy today.


Charles was passionate about the families and children we serve. He was fond of reminding his audiences that “parks are more than just fun and games.” That through sports and activities young people learn the life lessons that translate into productive lives.


Charles leaves behind a beautiful legacy. And his son Dion continues the family tradition by serving on the Parks Board.


My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. On this sad day for the Parks family, we give thanks for the life and legacy of Charles Jordan.






Former City Commissioner Charles Jordan Dies at 77

Dave Blanchard, OPB News


Charles Jordan, former Portland city commissioner and parks director, has died at 77

Anna Griffin in The Oregonian


Groundbreaking Parks Director Charles Jordan Dies 1937 - 2014

The Skanner News


Charles Jordan, former Portland city commissioner and parks visionary, passes away at 77

Andy Giegerich in the Portland Business Journal

April 4, 2014

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