POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

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

Portland artworks gain national recognition


Americans for the Arts recently honored 31 of the nation’s most outstanding public art projects – and three are from Portland!

Americans for the Arts is a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing arts and arts education.


All three award-winning projects were funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). Nick is proud to serve as Council liaison to RACC and Portland’s diverse arts community.


This All Happened More or Less by Crystal Schenk and Shelby Davis is located on SE Division St. The artwork is part of the Division Streetscape Project, a partnership between the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Bureau of Transportation. Schenk and Davis created delightful small bronze figures on large, dolomite boulders.


Westmoreland Nature Play by Adam Kuby and Greenworks Landscape Architects is Portland’s first Nature Play Area, in Westmoreland Park. Part of the Westmoreland and Crystal Springs reconstruction project, the unique playground encourages children to use their creativity and imaginations while interacting with nature.


The Rippling Wall by David Franklin at located on the wall of Portland Fire Station 21. The large sculpture represents the opposite of fire: water. When the sun rises and sets, sunlight dances across artwork, and makes it appear as though it really is rippling water.   


Congratulations to the award-winning artists!

Check out RACC’s website for more information. 


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

In the Oregonian


Local Public Art Projects Receive National Awards

GoLocalPDX Arts Team


Photos courtesy of RACC.

June 16, 2015

Fish Team welcomes new policy team member!

We are delighted to welcome Jamie Dunphy to our team as Policy Coordinator.


Jamie has an extensive background of service to people in our community.


He joins the Fish team after 5 years with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. As a Constituent Service Representative, Jamie focused on a range of federal issues, including education, Social Security, consumer finance, and the environment.


He previously worked in the David Douglas School District – at Ron Russell Middle School – creating a community support network to help kids succeed in the classroom.


Jamie and his wife also owned and operated Lovecup, a neighborhood coffee shop in Sellwood.


As Policy Coordinator in our office, Jamie will track a broad range of City legislative and policy issues, and serve as liaison to Venture Portland and our local small business community. Non-profit Venture Portland provides grants, trainings, and support to Portland’s diverse business districts and small businesses.


Jamie and his family live in the Lents neighborhood of Southeast Portland.

June 15, 2015

Portland Pride 2015


Yesterday, Nick and his family were proud to join Basic Rights Oregon, elected officials, and community members in the 2015 Portland Pride Parade!


The Portland Pride Festival & Parade supports equality and honors our community’s diversity. The celebration was hosted by Pride Northwest, a nonprofit serving the LGBTQ community since 1994.


It has been a big year for LGBTQ rights – in 37 states, including Oregon, same sex couples now have the right to marry. And the Supreme Court of the United States will soon have the opportunity to settle the question once and for all.


Nick is proud to live in a city that is committed to equality for all families. Join us in celebrating Pride all month long!


Hundreds attend Pride Northwest Festival 2015 in Portland

Sun Times Portland

June 15, 2015

Thursday Roundup

June 11, 2015

Lilly Lee

Thursday June 4th I attended a fundraiser for De Paul Treatment Center with Commissioner Nick Fish and Aja. Here I learned how De Paul provides drug and alcohol treatment to not only men and women, but also to youth and families. With the help of many donors, De Paul hopes to help individuals recover by providing medial detox, day treatments, family therapy, and much more. I think it is really interesting that Nick Fish supports multiple local nonprofits, including De Paul. During the fundraising many people interacted with one another, and told their stories. It is a blessing for someone to open up and talk about a deep topic in their past and or current lives.


I am currently working on two projects: one about the Interstate Renovation Project with Liam Frost and the Portland Utility Board members recruitment with Jim Blackwood.


For my Interstate project, I will be collecting data for the maintenance of Portland's 225-square-mile water supply system. The Portland Water Bureau's Interstate Maintenance Facility is located near the Rose Quarter on N. Interstate Avenue. Collecting online materials was harder than I thought, you really have to play around with the search engine.


Jim gave me a project to work on using Excel, which I had never used before. This expanded my computer skills. Here I worked on organizing a spread sheet of potential Portland Utility Board (PUB) members. Commissioner Nick Fish is asking for a new nine person PUB to replace three existing oversight groups.   


Every day here in Commissioner Nick Fish’s office, there is always something new to learn. There are currently 9 people to learn from: each staff member, Nick, and myself. The goal at the end of the day here is that everyone wants to see you succeed. I feel extremely grateful to working alongside with such talented colleagues.


In addition to working on projects, I am also learning from Asena Lawrence on how to answer phones calls, prep the Council binder for Nick, and good communication skills such as greetings. Jenny is also a great helper, she helps me edit my blog postings. Aja is always here to make me feel comfortable. Liam is smart, I really admire how he points out how I can improve. All mistakes are learning experiences. I think Jim is very interesting and benevolent. Sonia is very kind and lovely, I love how bold she is. I really enjoy working with everyone here at the office. By the time you know it, work is over. This office has fun and gets the job done!


June 11, 2015

The Portland Utility Board

Yesterday, City Council unanimously approved Nick’s proposal to launch a new Portland Utility Board (PUB). 


The 9-member PUB will serve as a citizen oversight body to strengthen accountability and transparency at our two public utilities: the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau. The PUB replaces the Public Utility Review Board and the individual utility Budget Advisory Committees.


Creating a new oversight body was one of the recommendations from our Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission, chaired by former U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton.


PUB will meet year-round, and oversee financial plans, capital improvements, annual budget development, and rate setting of the City’s water, sewer, and stormwater services. They will report directly to City Council. 


Interested in serving on the PUB? We are accepting applications through July 10.  


Please submit your application, resume, and any additional information to:

Asena Lawrence: asena.lawrence@portlandoregon.gov

Office of Commissioner Nick Fish, 1221 SW 4th Ave., Room 240, Portland, OR 97204


Portland Utility Board Ordinance

Portland Utility Board Applicant Criteria

Portland Utility Board Interest Form


Commissioner Fish introduces ordinance to create the Portland Utility Board

News Release


Setting things right is its own award: Editorial

The Oregonian Editorial Board


Unprecedented transparency for Portland utilities? Commissioner Nick Fish says so

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian


Fish wants 9-person Portland Utility Board

Chris Woodard and KOIN News Staff


Portland reworks its utility oversight panels

Steve Law in the Portland Tribune


Portlanders could get bigger say on city water, environmental issues

Andy Giegerich in the Portland Business Journal


Fish submits ordinance to create Portland Utility Board

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune 

June 11, 2015

Community watershed projects receive grant funding

The Portland City Council has approved Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grants totaling $100,000 to 13 community groups for projects to improve watershed health. CWSP provides grants of up to $10,000 to engage volunteers in stormwater management and watershed restoration projects.


The program is a partnership between Environmental Services and Portland State University. Since 1995, CWSP has granted more than $1 million for watershed projects and helped organize more than 40,000 volunteers to work on community projects.


“Community Watershed Stewardship grants are a good investment,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish. “They support innovative neighborhood projects that help us manage stormwater, and every dollar invested in these community partnerships leverages three dollars in volunteer time and in-kind contributions.”


The program also helps the Bureau of Environmental Services comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The EPA issues permits that require cities to develop programs to reduce stormwater pollution. The EPA recognizes that those programs are more effective when community members and groups join in. Public information, public involvement and public participation are all stormwater permit requirements.


CWSP projects support Portland’s green infrastructure by providing a range of functions including rainwater infiltration, water quality improvement, stream restoration, pavement removal, watershed data collection and flood mitigation. CWSP grants will fund these 13 projects this year:


  1. Depave Saint Peter & Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church - $10,000 to remove parking lot pavement and add a rain garden planted with native vegetation.
  2. Dharma Rain Zen Center Siskiyou Community Garden - $7,448 to continue work with Madison High School, Groundwork Portland and neighbors to redevelop a brownfield into a native plant pollinator and food garden.
  3. Linnton Neighborhood Association Restoration - $6,200 to continue work with Portland Parks & Recreation and the neighborhood on restoration, outreach and pollution reduction on Linnton Creek in Forest Park.
  4. Columbia Slough Watershed Council Youth Leadership in Restoration - $8,600 to engage youth leaders from the Multnomah Youth Cooperative and students from north Portland schools to restore three acres along the Columbia Slough.
  5. Habitat for Humanity Cully Rain Gardens in the Home and on the Street - $9,940 to work with Verde and Our 42nd Avenue Prosperity Initiative to identify low income homeowners with stormwater problems, build rain gardens and provide youth leadership opportunities.
  6. Zomi Community Youth Garden and Watershed Project - $6,000 to give Zomi and Burmese refugees, including youth and children, opportunities to learn about the Columbia Slough and to work on gardening projects.
  7. Friends of Tryon Creek Environmental Education for All - $8,700 to engage the Markham Elementary School SUN after-school program and the REACH Youth$ave Program in environmental education and restoration activities.
  8. Southwest Neighborhoods African Youth Community Organization Watershed Team - $6,000 to continue a partnership to provide opportunities for youth in watershed restoration.
  9. Lents Springwater Habitat Restoration Project - $9,875 to Lents elementary school students and youth mentors from Project YESS to continue working with Portland Parks on restoration and cleanup activities along the Springwater Trail.
  10. Oregon Bhutanese Community Organization Community Garden - $6,000 to the Bhutanese community to engage seniors and youth to work in the community garden and provide youth leadership opportunities.
  11. Rose CDC Lents Youth Initiative - $9,885 to Rose Community Development, Green Lents and OPAL to hire interns to lead community improvement projects and participate in monitoring and data collection for Green Lents watershed heath projects.
  12. Portland Youth Builders (PYB) Educational Ecoroof - $5,352 to PYB students to construct an ecoroof over a dumpster at their school to reduce pollution and stormwater runoff.
  13. Iraqi Society of Oregon Mesopotamians on the Banks of the Willamette - $6,000 to provide environmental education through water quality monitoring, restoration projects and canoe paddling.


The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.


Community watershed projects receive grant funding

News Release

June 11, 2015

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