POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

Friday Roundup

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales' State of the City speech (live updates)

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian, March 14, 2014

Toilet trouble for Portland? Disposable wipes clog region's sewer pipes

Eric Apalategui in The Oregonian, March 13, 2014

City water and sewer ratepayers get chance to talk about their rates with city commissioners
Steve Law in the Portland Tribune, March 13, 2014

Zen Buddhists clean up Portland's mess

Joseph Gallivan in the Portland Tribune, March 13, 2014

March 14, 2014

Our state partners help small businesses

This week, Governor Kitzhaber announced that Oregon secured an extra $5.6M in funding from the U.S. Treasury to help small businesses.


That’s great news for our small business community.


Small businesses are the engine of job growth in our community. 98% of our neighborhood small businesses employ 5 or fewer people. This new federal money will help them grow.


For more information, please visit the Business Oregon’s website.


Also this week, Oregon’s new Small Business Advocate, Ruth Miles, visited Nick’s office to talk about her work as a champion for small businesses at the state level.


Thanks to Secretary of State Kate Brown, who fought to create of this new position.

As Council Liaison to Venture Portland, Nick is proud to work with partners at the federal, state and local level to support our local economy.

March 14, 2014

Shepherding in restoration

Nick was pleased to join the Dharma Rain Zen Center in Northeast Portland last month to help clean up and transform a former brownfield site. 


Volunteers from the Dharma Rain Zen Center, Madison High School, Friends of Trees, Backyard Habitat Certification program, and the Portland community planted 1,200 native trees and shrubs on the 14 -acre plot of land in just one day!   


In today’s Portland Tribune, Joseph Gallivan highlights Dharma’s work in Sustainable Life.  Working with PCC Environmental Science and Resources students, Dharma Rain is transforming the site into a peaceful Zen Center, meditation hall, public park, and community gardens.  It will also provide a wildlife corridor connecting Rose City Golf Course and Glenhaven Park to Rocky Butte State Park.


The brownfield site will soon become a place for the whole community to enjoy – Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike!  The park and community gardens will be completed by spring 2015. 

Zen Buddhists clean up Portland's mess
Joseph Gallivan in the Portland Tribune, March 13, 2014

Photo courtesy of the Portland Tribune, by Jeffrey Ball.

March 13, 2014

Lovejoy Fountain restored

Yesterday, the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, CH2MHill, and Portland Parks & Recreation joined to celebrate the restoration of the Lovejoy Fountain shelter in Northwest Portland. Nick was honored to attend on Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s behalf.


The Lovejoy Fountain, built in 1966, is part of the historic Halprin Open Space Sequence.


The Open Space Sequence was born from architect Lawrence Halprin's vision for community in the heart of Portland. His innovative design links fountains, plazas, parks, and other open spaces with the bustle of the city. In his own words, Halprin explained that "the space is choreographed for movement with nodes for quiet & contemplation, action & inaction, hard & soft, yin & yang."


In addition to the Lovejoy Fountain, the Sequence links some of Portland's most well-known downtown Portland Parks & Recreation spaces - including the Ira Keller Fountain and Pettygrove Park.


Last year, the Halprin Sequence was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Portland wouldn’t have its outstanding public spaces without our public/private partnerships. Thanks to the generous donation from CH2MHIll and the ongoing work by the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, the Lovejoy Fountain and Halprin’s legacy will last for the next generations of Portlanders.

Lovejoy Fountain in Portland: Hidden open space that helped revive downtown is restored

Rebecca Koffman in The Oregonian

March 13, 2014

River View Natural Area

More than 50,000 trees and shrubs are planted in southwest Portland!


The River View Natural Area is a beautiful 146 - acre forest with seven streams that flow in the Willamette River.  Located between the River View Cemetery and Lewis and Clark College, the lush forest will soon become a recreation destination for nature enthusiasts. 


In 2011, when Nick was Parks Commissioner, the City purchased the River View Natural Area from the River View Cemetery.  The forest is now permanently protected from development, and is an important addition to the Westside Wildlife Corridor.


In the past, invasive species, like English Ivy, wreaked havoc on the forest’s sensitive ecosystems.  Today, thanks to the Bureau of Environmental Services’ Watershed Revegetation Program, Portland Parks & Recreation, and volunteers from the community, invasive species in the River View Natural Area have been reduced by 95%! The program protects water quality, prevents erosion and landslides, and helps restore abundant forests.


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

Photo: Thanks to flickr user SoulRider.222 for the beautiful shot of Mt. Hood from the River View property

March 12, 2014

City utility rate review

Join Nick and the Portland City Council to learn more about a proposed 4.92% sewer, stormwater, and water services rate increase for FY 2014-15, and share your feedback with the Council.


The meeting will include a brief overview of operating budgets, capital improvement programs and projects, and the rate-making process for the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES). 


Typically, utility rate-making occurs near the end of the City budget process in May. To increase transparency, Nick and Mayor Hales are bringing the proposed rate increase to the public as soon as possible.


Your City Council, along with staff from both PWB and BES, will be on hand to answer questions.


The City Utility Rate Review will be held on March 19 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Parkrose High School. Doors will open early, so if you want to come before the formal agenda begins to talk with staff or learn more about the bureaus, please do!


Learn more about the City budget process at the City Budget Office website.


City Utility Rate Review

6:30 - 8:30 pm
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Parkrose High School

12003 NE Shaver St.

March 11, 2014

Slough 101 Workshop

Learn all about the Columbia Slough Watershed and its unique history!

The Columbia Slough is a beautiful 60-mile long floodplain of the Columbia River. Previously, Native Americans lived along the wetlands.  Today, ten percent of all jobs in Oregon are located around the Slough.


Slough 101 is a free workshop that covers watershed health, environmental issues, wildlife and history of the region.  Participate in hands-on activities and go on levee and pump station tours. Eight local experts will be on hand to answer a range of questions, from where to see Great Blue Herons to flood management. 


Slough 101 is on Saturday, March 15, from 9 am – 12:45 pm at the Multnomah County Drainage District.  Light refreshments are provided.  Please register on the Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s website.  


Slough 101

9 am – 12:45 pm

Saturday, March 15 2014

Multnomah County Drainage Districts

1880 NE Elrod Dr.


Slough 101 is sponsored by the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services. 

March 10, 2014

Division/Clinton First Friday

The Division/Clinton Business Association is hosting a First Friday event tonight!


Every first Friday of the month, Portlanders and local businesses get together and enjoy entertainment, art, and great food in this historic neighborhood. 


The Division/Clinton Business Association has been going strong since the 1930s, promoting the prosperity of the neighborhood for residents and local businesses alike. 


Join Venture Portland and the Division/Clinton Business Association tonight from 6 – 9 pm.  Don’t forget to support local business and hashtag #PDXlovesSmallbiz on Twitter!


Check out Venture Portland’s website for more upcoming events in Portland neighborhoods.  


Photo courtesy of Venture Portland.

March 7, 2014

Friday Roundup

Study says city top heavy with supervisors

Peter Korn in the Portland Tribune, March 5, 2014


Council Report Asks Police Bureau to Consider Cutting 23 Command Positions

Denis C. Theriault in the Portland Mercury, March 4, 2014

Portland goes contemporary with 'Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art'

Jamie Hale in the Oregonian, February 28, 2014

Editorial gave short shrift to east-side park development: Guest opinion

Commissioner Amanda Fritz in The Oregonian, February 28, 2014

March 7, 2014

Age-Friendly Portland

The Age-Friendly Portland Advisory Council has launched a new website, AgeFriendlyPortland.org


Unanimously supported by Portland City Council, Elders in Action, and other organizations throughout Portland, Age-Friendly Portland is dedicated to building an empowered and engaged community of older adults in our wonderful city. 


AgeFriendlyPortland.org provides information for upcoming events and opportunities, highlights community partners’ initiatives, and shares news articles and other important resources.


Age-Friendly communities can be found all over the world, with more continually popping up.  Currently there are 145 in 22 countries! To learn more about other Age-Friendly communities, visit Age-Friendly World’s website


Get connected by joining a committee or volunteering! Email info@eldersinaction.org or call (503) 235 – 5474 for more information. 


Photo courtesy of Elders in Action.

March 6, 2014

Glencoe Rain Garden - 10 years later

This winter has been especially rainy – it makes us grateful for our innovative systems that manage heavy stormwater.


Over a decade ago, some Mt. Tabor neighbors had sewage flooding their basements because heavy water runoff was clogging small pipes. 


The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) worked to install larger pipes to prevent overflow.  They also partnered with Portland Public Schools and Glencoe Elementary School to design the beautiful Glencoe Rain Garden, which captures rain and stormwater runoff.


The garden provides the community with a lovely area of nature, and doubles as an outdoor classroom with a butterfly garden for Glencoe Elementary School.


10 years later, it is still a success! There have been no reported basement backups in the neighborhood.  The native plants and soils in the rain garden are doing well and soak up 85% of annual runoff water.  It also prevents pollutants from entering our sewers and rivers. 


To learn more about how Portland focuses on “green” solutions to stormwater management, visit BES’s website.

March 5, 2014

Out with the old pipes and valves, in with the new

The Portland Water Bureau’s Operations Group is improving water quality and making sure our drinking water is up to par with federal and state requirements.


Upgrades are in process for the water supply system at the Bull Run Watershed and

the massive pipes that carry water to our reservoirs.  Water Bureau crews are at the Sandy River Station, replacing old air valve vaults. The new valves will help maintain system efficiency and prevent contamination by flood water.  


Crews are also installing six new flow meters.  Some of the existing meters are over 90 years old.  The flow meters help measure and monitor chlorine in water, which keeps our water clean and safe to drink.


To learn more, check out the Portland Water Bureau’s Water Blog

March 4, 2014

Portland2014's Binennial of Contemporary Art

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center presents Portland2014’s Biennial of Contemporary Art.  Art is brought to a whole other level with the 15 eclectic contemporary artists and 11 events.


Portland2014’s diverse art exhibitions come from an array of talented artists, including Portland’s Zachary Davis, whose mixed media art incorporates magnets, PVC, glass, and even YouTube videos. Personal Libraries Library recreates libraries from some of history’s greatest minds, and Professor Christopher Michlig takes on the manipulation of communication with vivid neon colors and shapes. 


The exhibitions are located in four Portland venues: Disjecta, Upfor Gallery, White Box, University of Oregon, Portland, and The Best Art Gallery in Portland.


Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art goes from March 8 to April 27.  All Portland2014 venues are free and open to the public, from 12 - 6 pm, Tuesday - Saturday.


An opening reception will be held at Disjecta on Saturday, March 8, from 6 - 10 pm.

Please check Biennial Disjecta’s website for more information. 


Photo courtesy of Disjecta Contemporary

March 3, 2014

Friday Roundup

Leaders will fine-tune storm, disaster response

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune, February 27, 2014


Fox News host Sean Hannity asks 'American Winter' filmmakers why struggling Portland families can't move to North Dakota

Molly Young in The Oregonian, February 27, 2014


Nick Fish Talks About Checks on Capitalism; Sean Hannity is Enraged

Denis C. Theriault in the Portland Mercury, February 27, 2014


Regional Providers Provide Important Information on Reducing Lead in Drinking Water

Time Hall from the Portland Water Bureau, February 25, 2014


PWB: High lead levels in Portland water

Koin 6 News Staff, February 25, 2014


Elevated lead levels in some Portland area drinking water: 8 ways to reduce exposure

Katy Muldoom in The Oregonian, February 25, 2014


Commissioner Fish Support Letter: HB 4143A
February 24, 2014

February 28, 2014

The Mt. Tabor park tree update

Over the last week, I’ve heard from a number of people concerned about a future Portland Water Bureau project in Mt. Tabor Park, and its potential effects on the trees and landscape of the park.


Here’s some basic information.


As part of a federal water quality mandate, the Water Bureau is required to disconnect the park’s open reservoirs from the water distribution system by the end of 2015. But not to worry – we’ll still be able to fill the reservoirs with water in the future.


The bureau must go through a Land Use Review before they start any work. There are two possible review paths – Type II and Type III. Based on community feedback, I have directed the bureau to submit a Type III application, which includes a public hearing before the application is approved.


Water Bureau planners and engineers worked closely with Portland Parks & Recreation to develop the current tree mitigation proposal (including planting 1,200 new trees), and I appreciate the hard work they have done to date.


That said, I share community members’ concerns regarding the potential impact on trees in the park. Accordingly, I have directed Water Bureau staff to work with the Urban Forester at Portland Parks & Recreation to take a fresh look at this project and its potential impact to Mt. Tabor’s trees.


As part of this fresh look, Water and Parks staff will review the project’s potential impacts and the current mitigation proposal, and will identify any opportunities to further reduce the effects on trees in the park.


Here’s some additional information about the current proposed project and Mt. Tabor’s trees:


  • The bureau will cut and plug existing pipes, lay approximately 850 feet of new large-diameter pipe, and make new connections between some existing pipes.
  • Under the current proposal, up to 25 trees may be removed during the construction process. There are 6 additional trees which are close to the work, and may be affected – but the Water Bureau will do all it can to keep those 6 trees healthy and in place. Our City Forester is confident that the proposed work would not damage other tree root systems in the park.
  • With guidance from Parks, the Water Bureau will plant 1,200 new trees in Mt. Tabor Park and in locations across the community. According to Parks staff, there is not enough room in Mt. Tabor Park to plant all of the new trees, as they would grow to block views and crowd open areas in the park. The Water Bureau will plant 65 new native trees at Mt. Tabor, focusing on areas that need reforestation. Water and Parks staff will work together to find the best locations in the community to plant the rest of the new trees.

February 26, 2014

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