POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

The Mason Flats Wetland is flourishing

A once-neglected field filled with invasive species has bloomed into one of our loveliest watershed restoration sites. 


In early 2013, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) completed the Mason Flats Wetland Enhancement Project. The area manages stormwater runoff from over 600 acres of residential and commercial streets in Northeast Portland.  By natural filtration, pollutants are reduced, and the wetland and its critters can remain healthy!


Today, the Mason Flats is flourishing with beautiful wild flowers and greenery.  Because it’s a restoration area in progress, the wetland is not open to the public. However, it’s part of the Big Four Corners Natural Area, which has viewing sites and access points. 


Visit BES’ website for maps and more information.  

June 25, 2014

Keeping Portland jobs

Knowledge Universe, a global educational organization, provides something very important for our children’s growth - early childhood education. As one of the largest employers in the metro area, it’s also an important part of Portland’s economy. 


Based in the City of Roses since 1998, Knowledge Universe’s headquarters is located in the Lloyd district, where it employs nearly 400 people. Another 500 work at their early education centers around the city. 


The company is committed to Portland, and proved that recently with a new 10-year lease for its headquarters. 


As Council liaison to Venture Portland, Nick was pleased that Knowledge Universe renewed its commitment to Portland. Securing 400 jobs for the next 10 years is a boost for the Lloyd neighborhood, and can leverage further economic development.


“Staying in Portland’s Lloyd District makes the most sense,” said Knowledge Universe CEO Tom Wyatt. “Signaling this lease solidifies our commitment to the city of Portland and ensures our local employees will be in a central location with wide access to public transit for at least the next decade.”

Education company Knowledge Universe will stay in Lloyd District

Elliot Njus in The Oregonian

Why Knowledge Universe is sticking around in Portland

Andy Giegerich in the Portland Business Journal

Photo courtesy of Knowledge Universe.

June 24, 2014

Filming in Portland

The Portland Business Journal’s Erik Siemers recently interviewed talented film producer Dean Devlin about filming in Oregon. 


Devlin, CEO of the Los Angeles-based production company Electric Entertainment, has produced and co-written a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including Independence Day and The Patriot.  Devlin also brought Portland its first regular TV series, Leverage, and is currently wrapping up season one of The Librarians.


Last month, Nick was pleased to visit the set of The Librarians, where he got a tour and watched filming.  The show, starring Rebecca Romijn and Noah Wyle, is filmed entirely in the Portland area. As Council Liaison to the arts and small businesses, Nick supports creative industries that contribute to our local economy.   


Devlin, a strong advocate for filming in Oregon, says he’d be interested in bringing more feature films to Oregon – or even film all of his productions here.


Oregon provides many advantages to film companies.  Portland provides unique backgrounds like our iconic Portland, Oregon sign. Our architecture has also been used to double as New York, Washington, and even Eastern Europe.  Oregon also boasts no sales tax, a talented pool of actors and behind-the-scenes people, strong unions, great locations donated by the City or State, and perhaps most importantly - the general, good-hearted nature that Portlanders are famous for. 


“In L.A., if you go to a local neighborhood to shoot, everybody’s blasting music or turning up their car radios,” Devlin shares. “In Portland, they come out with trays of cookies and milk.”


He’d like to shoot all his films here

Erik Siemers in the Portland Business Journal

June 20, 2014

Friday Roundup

June 20, 2014

Portland's rain brings people together

One of last year’s Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grant recipients recently finished up its project with great success – and a celebration!


The CWSP program provides grants annually to local organizations.  These grants support innovative projects that improve our community’s watershed health and protect water quality.


Thanks to the grant, St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the Lents neighborhood has a beautiful new Rain Garden! For several years, the church and its parking lot flooded during heavy rains. That untreated stormwater would also flow directly into Johnson Creek.   The new Rain Garden soaks up stormwater and filters pollutants - preventing flooding, improving water quality, and even reducing their stormwater fee by 78%!


Things kicked off last fall with a pavement smashing party, and ended in May with a wonderful celebration – ironically in the rain.  The church provided delicious Ethiopian cuisine and thanked the more than 80 volunteers and organizations that helped make their project a success.  


Check out BES’ website for more information about the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church Rain Garden project.  


‘Rain Garden’ saves church, helps Johnson Creek

David F. Ashton in East Portland News

June 19, 2014

Discover Portland’s public art

While the weather isn’t complying, summer IS almost here! And during the warmer months, Portland sees an increase of people out and about, enjoying our lovely city.


One of the great aspects of Portland that both locals and visitors enjoy is our abundance of public art.  The Rose City boasts nearly 1,000 outdoor public art pieces. From our oldest piece of public art, the Skidmore Fountain, to one of our newest, the Nepenthes sculptures, there is something for everyone.  


The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) partnered up with Travel Portland to update the free publication, A Guide to Portland Public Art.  The guide includes a map of the five districts in the Central City, great photos, and lists over 100 pieces of local art and where to find them.


RACC asked some locals to share their five favorite pieces of public art. See their answers on RACC’s website, then grab A Guide to Portland Public Art and your walking shoes, and discover your five favorites!  


Pick up a copy of A Guide to Portland Public Art at RACC’s office, the Travel Portland Visitor Center in Pioneer Courthouse Square, or download it from RACC's website. Prefer something more high tech? Get the free PDX Art app on your smart phone.


Photo courtesy of RACC.

June 18, 2014

Water: something to sing about

As Portlanders, we know how lucky we are to have such high-quality drinking water. Some people are so inspired by our water, they sing about it!


Christie Milligan, a Portland State University senior, produced a song about our water supply for her Senior Capstone Project. Her fiancée and daughter lent their wonderful singing voices for the song.


Christie’s song highlights the visionary Bull Run Watershed – the source of Portland’s drinking water.  It was established in 1895, back when Oregon could still be considered the Wild West. Today, Bull Run provides nearly 1 million Oregonians with pristine drinking water.  Located in the Mount Hood National Forest, the watershed holds nearly 19 billion gallons of water.


Because water from the Bull Run is naturally so pure, the Portland Water Bureau only lightly treats it before it enters our homes – that’s definitely worth singing about!


PSU Senior Capstone Project - Water Bureau Theme Song

June 17, 2014

Portland shows its pride

Portland has had a month full of pride!


Nick was proud to support the LGBTQ community this weekend by walking in the Portland Pride Parade with fellow City employees.  Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Portland Pride Festival & Parade honors our community’s diversity and supports equality.


Last week, City Council proclaimed June 2014 to be Portland Pride Month.  The proclamation highlights the economic, artistic, political, and social contributions the LGBTQ community provides Portland.  We were also pleased to celebrate Bureau of Environmental Services employee Debbie Caselton, who earned Pride Northwest’s 2014 Spirit of Pride award for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community.


Portland is committed to diversity and social justice. Join us in celebrating Pride this month with Pride Northwest, Black Pride, and Latino Gay Pride.

June 16, 2014

A Taste of Historic Parkrose

During the summer, Portland has many colorful street fairs and events.  A great way to help support our neighborhoods, Street Fairs encourage people to get out and about to meet their neighbors and local businesses.


This Saturday, head to East Portland and enjoy the Taste of Historic Parkrose


Food lovers will relish tasty bites from local eateries under the Food Pavilion-Big Tent.  Appreciate the diversity of the district with multicultural performances, and venture under the Community Tent to learn all about important Parkrose resources and nonprofits.


Check out Historic Parkrose’s website for more information. 


Taste of Historic Parkrose

Saturday, June 14, 10 am – 6 pm

106th at NE Sandy Blvd.

June 13, 2014

Friday Roundup

June 13, 2014

Urban Weeds workshop

Urban weeds - the inevitable garden intruder.


This Monday, the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) is hosting a free Urban Weeds workshop.  Learn how to identify and combat common garden weeds as well as other invasive plants. 


Perfect for all levels of gardeners, this introductory workshop explains how aggressive plants take over your yard.  It also provides easy and useful tips to gain back control without the use of dangerous herbicides.


Herbicides are unhealthy for you and the environment.  Stormwater runoff from your garden can carry herbicides into our water system and pollute habitat for fish and wildlife.  It can also create health risks for pets and people.  By understanding ways to control weeds without using herbicides, you can keep your yard weed-free and environmentally friendly! 


Pre-register for the workshop on EMSWCD’s website


Urban Weeds Workshop

Monday, June 16, 6 – 8 pm


5211 N Williams Ave.

June 12, 2014

Are you ready for a swim?

This summer, you can check the Willamette River’s water conditions before jumping in.


Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) staff analyze water quality at five popular swimming locations each week - testing for E. coli and checking water temperature.


In 2011, the City completed the combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program.  Since then, E. coli results have been consistently low throughout the summer months.  A count of more than 406 E. coli organisms per 100 milliliters of water is above the health standard set by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.  Our levels are almost always well below that. On June 3, the E. coli count at the Riverplace Marina was just 5.


Before the CSO control program, combined sewers once overflowed in the Willamette River at an average of 50 times per year.  Thanks to the success of the CSO control program, that number has been reduced by about 95%!


Portlanders can take a dip in the Willamette River this summer, knowing it is now cleaner than it has been in generations.


Check the Willamette River’s water quality and temperature on BES’ website.

June 12, 2014

¡Explorando el Columbia Slough!

Join us on Saturday, June 14 for the 13th annual ¡Explorando el Columbia Slough!


¡Explorando! is a free bilingual nature festival put on by the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, in partnership with the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau. Explore nature and culture with guided canoe trips, live music, folk dancing, and more. All activities are offered in both Spanish and English and are available for all ages.


You don’t need to register for the festival, but get there early because the first 300 visitors will receive a free ¡Explorando! t-shirt.


Special thanks to all of our sponsors who have made this fun-filled event possible.




El 14 de junio le invitamos a compartir el anual ¡Explorando el Columbia Slough!


¡Explorando! es un festival bilingüe gratuito para aprender acerca de la naturaleza auspiciado por el Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Bureau of Environmental Services, y Portland Water Bureau. Explore la naturaleza y cultura en canoa con guias, disfrute de música en vivo, danzas folklóricas, y mucho más. Las actividades se ofrecen en inglés y español, y son para todas las edades.


No es necesario que se registre para el festival, pero venga temprano porque los primeros 300 visitantes recibirán una camiseta gratis de ¡Explorando!


Gracias a todos los patrocinadores que han hecho este evento posible.


¡Explorando el Columbia Slough!

Whitaker Ponds Nature Park

7040 NE 47th Ave

June 14, 1 – 5 pm

June 11, 2014

Grants for artistic projects

Do you have a great idea for an art project or local arts event?


The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) invites local artists and nonprofits to submit proposals for 2015 Project Grants


RACC supports the region’s arts and culture community through a variety of grant programs. Project Grants will fund artistic projects and cultural events. Proposals with innovative and creative artistic focus, encourage community participation, or create arts-in-schools programs will be considered. 


RACC will award $750,000 in grants – ranging from $1,000 – $6,000. 


This summer, RACC will offer a series of online tutorials and orientation sessions for applicants to better understand the Project Grant’s guidelines and application process. 


For more information, check out RACC’s website.   


Photo courtesy of RACC

June 10, 2014

Strengthening our infrastructure

Like it or not, we know “The Big One” could happen any time in the future. So the City is taking steps to ensure we are better prepared for emergencies or disasters like earthquakes.


Last Tuesday, the Portland Water Bureau gave a demonstration of the newly installed Earthquake Resistant Ductile Iron (ERDI) pipe


Following recommendations from the Oregon Resilience Plan, the Water Bureau installed the ERDI pipe to test ways we could improve our water system’s ability to remain usable after a seismic event.  The innovative pipe, widely used in Japan, has moveable joints that can elongate or contract during earthquakes or landslides. 


There are two pilot projects to evaluate the ERDI pipe.  845 feet of 6- and 8-inch diameter pipe has been installed on SW Northwood Avenue, and the bureau is currently installing 585 feet of pipe on SW Council Crest Drive.


Learn more about how your family can prepare for an emergency by visiting the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management’s website.

PWB shows off earthquake-resistant pipe

KOIN 6 News staff

Portland Water Bureau Tries Out Earthquake Resistant Water Pipe
Pat Boyle in FM News 101 KXL

June 9, 2014

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