POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

Spirit of Portland 2014

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Last night, Nick was proud to join his colleagues to present the 2014 Spirit of Portland Awards.


The Spirit of Portland celebrates individuals and organizations who do so much for others, and influence great, positive changes in our community.


This year, Nick was proud to name two award recipients: Stephen Marc Beaudoin and Dr. Karen Fischer Gray. 


Stephen serves as the Executive Director of PHAME, an inspiring non-profit that provides arts education and opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. Stephen enriches our community by helping people with disabilities and their families actively engage in the arts – from music and dance, to poetry and visual art.  


Karen is the Superintendent of Parkrose School District. She has been a steadfast advocate and voice for East Portland students and their families.  Karen is also an active member of the City’s Planning & Sustainability Commission


Nick was also pleased to present awards to Ramón Ramirez and PFLAG Portland.


Ramon has served as President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste for nearly 20 years.  He is a champion for equity and has been a great leader for the immigrant and farm workers community in Oregon. 


PFLAG Portland (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) provides support and education to Portland families of gay and lesbian children.  It is a strong advocate for LBGTQ dignity, respect, and legal equality in our community.


The highlight of the evening was bittersweet, and very moving – Commissioner Amanda Fritz presented an award to three members of the Oregon State Salem Area Command, who quickly and compassionately responded to her husband’s fatal car accident in September. 


Congratulations to all the Portlanders and community groups who received awards! You help make our city a wonderful place.

November 7, 2014

I stand with Francisco

I join Mayor Hales in expressing my concern for Francisco Aguirre and his family.


The federal government must treat him fairly and humanely, and afford him full due process.


Francisco is an asset, not a risk, to our community. I am proud to stand with him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.


Francisco Aguirre, Portland labor activist fighting deportation, arrested on federal criminal warrant

Steve Mayes in The Oregonian

November 7, 2014

Friday Roundup

November 7, 2014

Deconstruction through art

Local artist Noah Greene explores the Portland Building’s architectural design in its latest art installation, Parts of No Sum, or, Trails Do Not End Only Infinitely Disperse.


Greene’s inspiration comes from his former occupation as a carpenter here in Portland.  He deconstructed and demolished lived-in places and architecture. Greene is interested in examining the parallels of constantly throwing away material, and of abandoning belief structures.


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


Parts of No Sum, or, Trails Do Not End Only Infinitely Disperse opens Monday in the Portland Building’s lobby. 


Check out RACC’s website for more information. 


Portland Building Installation Arts Series

1120 SW 5th Avenue

8 am – 5 pm


Photo courtesy of RACC.

November 6, 2014

Fall colors in the water

You may notice slight color changes in your drinking water. Don’t panic! It’s normal - and harmless. 


Heavy fall rains cause tannins (natural organic materials) to wash into streams that feed the Bull Run Watershed. Tannins do not change the quality of water, just the color. 


The Bull Run provides some of the world’s best drinking water.  Because it’s so high in quality, we do not need to heavily filter and treat our water – so the fall colors may show up in your faucet. 


The Portland Water Bureau closely monitors our water systems.  It ensures that it meets all state and federal quality and safety regulations – providing you with the best water possible.


Check out the Portland Water Bureau’s website for more information. 

November 5, 2014

Preventing elder abuse

This Thursday, join Nick and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for a panel discussion on Elder Financial Abuse.


Sponsored by Elders in Action, the Listening & Learning Session will share information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from financial abuse. Learn what makes people susceptible to abuse, as well as how and where to report it.


Nick is proud to serve as the Portland City Council liaison to Elders in Action, a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to creating a vibrant community of older adults. Elders in Action is a strong partner for the City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau. They provide many resources and programs that connect, engage, and empower Portland’s older adults. 


The panel will take place at the Q Center, a nonprofit which serves LGBTQ Portlanders of all ages.


The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Elders in Action at (503) 235-5474 or by email at info@eldersinaction.org. Check out Elders in Action’s website for more information.


Elder Financial Abuse

Listening & Learning Session

Q Center

Thursday, November 6, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

4115 N. Mississippi Ave.

November 4, 2014

Unsung heroes

We love it when hard-working public servants get the recognition they deserve. 


Portland Water Bureau employee Dan Weidinger is the Ranger who patrols the Bull Run Watershed and protects our water supply. In today’s Oregonian, Andrew Theen profiles Ranger Weidinger, our “lone ranger.”


The Bull Run Watershed is Portland’s main source of drinking water.  The watershed includes the Bull Run Lake and our two reservoirs, in addition to the Bull Run River and a number of tributaries and other feeders. The two reservoirs hold nearly 14 billion gallons of usable water, and serve nearly a quarter of all Oregonians. 


Dan and his wife, Sacha, live in the watershed.  He is the only full-time ranger responsible for the nearly 150 square-mile watershed.


Hopefully he won’t be solo for long.  The Water Bureau has requested, as part of the Fall BMP – the Budget Monitoring Process, which allows the City to make mid-year budget adjustments – to add a second full-time ranger.


As Commissioner in charge of the bureau, I am grateful for the exemplary service of Dan and others at PWB working every day to keep our water safe, manage our complex system, and provide helpful, accurate service to our customers.


Dan isn’t our only employee in the news. Kathy Koch, our Director of Customer Service and Billing, was recently recognized by her peers with the Management & Leadership Division Exceptional Service Award, a national honor acknowledging Kathy’s outstanding work on the customer care side of our business.


Our hats are off to both Dan and Kathy, who share a remarkable commitment to our water system and to the people we serve.


The Lone Ranger: Dan Weidinger patrols and protects the Bull Run Watershed for nearly 1 million people

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Take a ride through the Bull Run Watershed with Portland's Lone Ranger (hyperlapse video)

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian


Photo courtesy of The Oregonian.

November 3, 2014

Trick or Treat!

Many of Portland’s great neighborhood business associations are getting spooky for Halloween!


Tonight, stop by your participating local neighborhood small businesses for tasty treats, special deals, prizes, and more!  With many fun family-friendly events, it’s a great way celebrate All Hallows’ Eve while supporting your local economy. 


Neighborhood small businesses add wonderful character to Portland and are the backbone of our economy.


Check out the list below for some participating neighborhood associations:


Hollywood Great Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt

Hollywood Business District

2:00 – 5:00 pm


Trick or Treat on Mississippi Avenue

Follow the orange and black balloons! They mark stores that offer sweets.   

Mississippi Ave.

3:00 – 6:00 pm


Multnomah Village Halloween in the Village

SW 35th Ave and Capitol Highway

3:30 – 5:30 pm


Overlook Village Halloween Crawl

Throughout Overlook Village

5:00 – 7:00 pm


Visit Venture Portland’s website for more information.

October 31, 2014

Friday Roundup

October 31, 2014

The Watcher Files

Local artists Garrick Imatani and Kaia Sand take viewers on an artistic and literary exploration of old police surveillance files.


Known as The Watcher Files, the collection includes surveillance documents of activists and civic groups from the 1960s to the 1980s. The files are part of the City of Portland Archives and Records Center.


An interactive addendum to the original Watcher Files, the exhibit includes documents, cabinets, binders, index cards, and more.  Delve into history by thumbing through copper index cards and peering into cabinet drawers.  Find old framed photos and graphite drawings. 


The exhibit is funded by the Percent for Art program and administered by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)


The Watcher Files art and literary exhibit is now up at the North Portland Library! Visit RACC’s website for more information. 


The Watcher Files

North Portland Library

512 N Killingsworth St.

Open daily

Photo courtesy of RACC.

October 30, 2014

Managing stormwater sustainably

SW Huber Street got a much needed make-over with a new green street facility.


Before the new facility, the road had a small storm drain that easily clogged with debris and frequently flooded. Stormwater that didn’t go down the drain flowed and carried pollutants to the Quail and Tryon creeks. 


The Bureau of Environmental Services constructed the new sustainable green facility.  With native plants to filter stormwater pollutants, the facility protects water quality in local creeks.  It also slows stormwater runoff to help prevent flooding.


Portland is a leader in green stormwater management.  Throughout the city, there are 1400-1500 green street facilities! Green infrastructure filters pollutants, provides habitat, and helps watersheds stay healthy.  


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

October 29, 2014

Tips for a great garden, all year round

The leaves are changing colors, the weather is cooling, and the rainy season is upon us.


While conditions may not be ideal for gardening, take time this fall to give your lawn the TLC it needs so it will be ready to bloom beautifully next spring.


The Portland Water Bureau has tips and tricks to prepare your gardens for the colder seasons:

  1. Make your own mulch by composting leaves and other garden debris. It’ll be great to use in the spring!
  2. Plant ‘waterwise’ plants.  Perfect for fall rainy weather, waterwise plants require lots of water while being established.  Afterwards, it needs less water than traditional plants, meaning less watering in the warmer months. 
  3. Winterize your automatic sprinkler system.  Empty the sprinklers of water, and don’t forget to turn them off.  This will save you money by preventing pipes from breaking during freezing temperatures.

Check out the Portland Water Bureau’s website for more information. 

October 28, 2014

Westmoreland Park’s grand reopening and salmon celebration


On Saturday, Nick and fellow Portlanders gathered to celebrate the newly renovated Westmoreland Park and restoration of Crystal Springs Creek.


The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) was proud to partner with Portland Parks & Recreation on the renovation and restoration project. Crystal Springs Creek runs through Westmoreland Park. 


The project included converting a duck pond into a wetland, removing nine culverts, adding walkways, planting nearly 2000 native plants and trees, and much more! 


One of the objectives was to restore salmon habitat, and thanks to BES and Parks’ collaborative efforts, salmon are back in the city! Crystal Springs Creek is now a safe, flourishing home for Coho salmon and other critters. 


Saturday’s event had family-friendly activities, tours, and even a 29-foot long salmon display!  The Grand Ronde and Siletz Native American tribes also participated in the event, with blessings, cultural songs, dance, and food cooked in their delicious, traditional ways.


Children also got to enjoy Portland’s first Nature Play Area!  Part of Westmoreland Park’s reconstruction, the unique playground encourages children to use their creativity and imaginations while interacting with nature. 

It also serves as a great location for local education and child development programs.


Check out the beautiful Westmoreland Park! And while you’re there, try to spot a Coho salmon as they swim upstream.  It’s their spawning season. 


Visit BES’ website for more information about the project.

Portland's Westmoreland Park celebrates its reopening, salmon invited (photos)

Michael Lloyd in The Oregonian

Westmoreland Park Rededication

The Oregonian

Restoration project brings salmon back to Portland park

Tim Gordon in KGW News

October 27, 2014

Celebrating Southeast Division Street


This morning, Nick and Commissioner Novick celebrated the completion of the Division Streetscape Project at OpenFest!


The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation collaborated on the Streetscape Project, transforming Southeast Division into a “green street.” It now has many new features, including new green street facilities, sidewalks, better access to transit, and, thanks to our friends at the Regional Arts & Culture Council, beautiful public art installations. 

OpenFest celebrated the end of the major street construction with fun festivities, including live music, delicious foods, drinks, and lots of shopping!


Nick and Commissioner Novick toured local neighborhood small businesses that were impacted by the construction – like Mirador Kitchen & Home, Josephine’s Dry Goods, and Flying Cat Coffee. Nick returned to the office with a fall bouquet from Floare Design.


Our local small businesses not only add colorful character our neighborhoods, but are also the backbone of Portland’s economy.  Let’s support them this autumn and holiday season by shopping locally. 

October 24, 2014

Friday Roundup

Northwest Dance Project's 'New Now Wow' features world premieres from Czech choreographer Jiří Pokorný, Portlander Minh Tran and New Yorker Yin Yue

Celina Russell in The Oregonian

Steve Duin: An expanding showcase for Oregon writers and Literary Arts

Steve Duin in The Oregonian

Portland City Council votes 4-to-0 to appeal part of federal judge's ruling on police reform updates

Maxine Bernstein in The Oregonian

Despite sewage overflow, Big Pipe doing its job, city says

Joe Douglass in Katu News

Rain Overflows Portland's Big Pipe, Putting Sewage In River

OPB News

Steady hard rainfall causes combined sewer overflow in Portland, officials issue 48 hour warning

Andrew Theen in The Oregonian

BES director put on leave during investigation

Dan Tilkin in KOIN 6 News

How Portland managers skirted orders to stop paying architect of over-budget Columbia Building
Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian

Audit Finds Numerous Costly Problems With Portland's Columbia Building

Rob Manning in OPB

Portland Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott Placed on Leave After City Audit of Sewer Office Building
Aaron Mesh in the Willamette Week

Overspending and under-accounting at the Columbia treatment plant: Editorial Agenda 2014

The Oregonian Editorial Board

Portland administrator Dean Marriott placed on paid leave as audit finds insufficient oversight on $11.5 million office project

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian

After Damning Audit of Budget-Busting Building, Fish Puts Sewer Bureau Chief on Leave

Denis C. Theriault in the Portland Mercury

B.E.S. Columbia Building: Scope additions and ineffective design oversight led to substantially higher project costs
City Audit, LaVonne Griffin-Valade

Press Release from Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade

October 22, 2014

City focuses on safety with proposed street fee funds

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

Several Northwest Portland businesses, high-rise condo building out of water after early morning water main break

Noelle Crombie in The Oregonian

Water main break floods NW 23rd Place

Elishah Oesch and KOIN 6 News Staff

Water main breaks at NW 23rd Place and Westover

Jim Reddin in the Portland Tribune


October 24, 2014

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