POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish News Blog Archive Blog

Engaging local youth

Every summer for the past six years, youth and mentors from Straightway Services have volunteered with Portland Water Bureau staff at Powell Butte and local HydroParks.   


The volunteer program offers youth an opportunity to positively contribute to our community.  And Portland Water Bureau really appreciates all of their hard work!  In turn, the youth gain work ethic and experience, as well as a sense of accomplishment and community pride. 


Since 2007, Pastor Dwight Minnieweather has directed Straightway Services, and helped develop the partnership with the Portland Water Bureau. 

Straightway Services provides pivotal life and employment skills, resources, mentorship, and volunteer opportunities to youth in our community. 


Check out Straightway Services’ website for more information about their great organization. 

September 16, 2014


The Portland Building’s art installation space has turned into an archaeological excavation site - for modern art.


Talented artist and Portland resident Yoonhee Choi peels back the layers of art installations long since passed.


Like an archaeologist equipped with carving tools, Choi’s art installation, STRATAscape, involved excavating the walls of the art installation space. 


Intrigued by the hundreds of layers of paint and art under the surface of the walls, she cut into them to reveal the colorful, historical art strata concealed within.


Choi’s wordless, science-inspired homage to former installations may be inspired from her diverse academic background.  She received her Bachelor of Engineering in City Planning in Seoul, Korea, a Master of Architecture from Yale, and most recently studied at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. 


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


STRATAscape begins today!  Check out RACC’s website for more information about the Installation Art Series. 


Portland Building Installation Space

1120 SW 5th Avenue

8 am – 5 pm


Photo courtesy of RACC.

September 15, 2014

Arts Season in “Fall” Swing


Portland’s arts scene is in full swing as we head into Fall! 


This week, Nick attended some great arts events that highlight Portland’s thriving arts and culture community. 

T:BA Festival


Last night, Nick was pleased to join in the kick-off dinner for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s (PICA) Time-Based Arts (T:BA) Festival


Celebrating its twelfth year, the 10-day festival draws artists of all mediums from around the United States and the world.  Through September 21, enjoy eclectic, artistic energy throughout the city – in galleries, live performances, and more!


Check out PICA’s website for a schedule of events. 

Literary Arts


On Monday, Nick attended the 30th Anniversary of Literary Arts Celebration, with authors Calvin Trillin and Elizabeth Gilbert.


Formed in 1984, Literary Arts is a nationally recognized organization dedicated to those who love literature and the arts.  Offering the largest literary lecture series in the United States, as well as workshops, seminars and high school programs, Literary Arts provides literary inspiration to thousands in our community.


Visit Literary Arts’ website for more information. 

The Right Brain Initiative


Also on Monday, Nick celebrated with The Right Brain Initiative, as they kicked off a new school year and shared  great news linking the arts and student achievement.  


A program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), Right Brain engages youth by integrating arts in school curriculums. 


New data demonstrates that students greatly benefit from Right Brain.  Their math and reading scores increase by at least 2.5 times more than the average annual rate of increase!  And, English Language Learners’ scores increase 10 times more than before learning with Right Brain

Right Brain reaches 20,000 students this year, at 59 K-8 schools in the greater Portland area.


Go on The Right Brain Initiative’s website to learn more.

A Matter of Time, The Time-Based Art Festival shows some moxie

Rebecca Jacobson in the Willamette Week

Art Invasion, The Time-Based Art Festival Achieves Liftoff

Alison Hallett in the Portland Mercury

September 12, 2014

Friday Roundup

September 12, 2014

Utility bills go paperless – and monthly!

Portlanders are lucky to have some of the best drinking water in the world – straight from our visionary Bull Run Watershed – as well as innovative sewer and stormwater management like green street facilities and bioswales.


Your combined water, sewer, and stormwater bill covers those services, provided by the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services.


Now, you have the option to pay your bill monthly online! 


The new paperless e-billing system gives customers the option to pay monthly online, rather than mail in a check each quarter. Water Bureau crews will continue to read water meters every three months, but will split the bill into three monthly emailed bills.   


Nick recently switched to monthly billing, and it was easy to get started! 

Monthly e-billing is only available online – it’s fast, convenient, secure, and environmentally friendly (less paper!). 


Sign up today:

For more information, check out the Portland Water Bureau’s website.

September 11, 2014

Ahoy Mateys! Arr ye ready for an Aquifer Adventure?

This Saturday, grab your best swashbuckling outfit, and venture off to a pirate-themed festival!


Put on by the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Aquifer Adventure celebrates the importance of groundwater.


The free festival offers many educational and fun adventures for all ages.  Set sail on a pirate canoe, search for buried treasure, build an edible aquifer, and much more. 


Get there early! No registration is required and the first 300 children get free t-shirts.


For more information, check out the Columbia Slough’s website.


Aquifer Adventure

Saturday, September 13, 12 – 4 pm

NE 166th and Airport Way

Photo courtesy of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.

September 10, 2014

The power of arts in education

Last night, Nick attended a celebration for The Right Brain Initiative


A program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), Right Brain engages young minds by integrating art in school curriculums.  Launched in January of 2009, the program has grown to reach 20,000 students this year, at 59 K-8 schools in the greater Portland area.


New data - from the national arts research firm WolfBrown, in partnership with Portland State University’s Center for Student Success - demonstrates that students greatly benefit from the program. 


Students' math and reading scores increase at least 2.5 times more than the average annual rate of increase!  


Schools that engaged most with Right Brain programs saw students averaging 6 points higher in reading scores and 9 points higher in math scores than before working with the program.  English Language Learners’ scores increased the most – 10 times more after Right Brain!


Many thanks to all of the public and private funders of the Right Brain Initiative, including the City of Portland, PGE Foundation, and the Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust.   


Learn all about RACC’s educational programs on their website

Oregon Arts Group Claims Achievement Boost

Rob Manning in OPB

Photo courtesy of Frank Hunt and RACC.

September 9, 2014

Make it! FUNd

Since their inception, ADX Portland and Portland Made have focused on growing the city’s light manufacturing sector through a core Portland value: collaboration.


The two organizations can now include another core Portland value: creating opportunity.


In partnership with the Equity Foundation, ADX and Portland Made have created a scholarship fund, called Make it! FUNd, to, “help train students in the design and manufacturing sectors.”


Light manufacturing plays a key role in promoting family-wage jobs in Portland. Thanks to ADX, Portland Made and the Equity Foundation, this new scholarship fund will strengthen the pipeline from education and training.


That Back to School Smell and ADX's New Scholarship Fund

Marjorie Skinner in the Portland Mercury

Photo courtesy of the ADX. 

September 8, 2014

Honoring Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson

Henry Lincoln Johnson may receive the Congressional Medal of Honor after all—thanks to the recent recommendation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and the tireless support of U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden, The Skanner, and many others. 


A WWI veteran who served in the 369th Regiment, Sergeant Johnson was the first American to receive the France’s highest military honor, the Croix de Guerre with Palm


The 369th, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was an African American regiment which served with distinction during WWI.  Nick’s grandfather, Hamilton Fish, was a Captain in the regiment.  During WWI, U.S. troops were segregated. So, the Hellfighters fought under the French flag.


In 1918, a wounded Sergeant Johnson courageously fought off a German raider party for an hour, with only his jammed rifle and bolo knife. His actions saved his partner, Needham Roberts, from capture. 


Sergeant Johnson is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In 1996, President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded Sergeant Johnson with the Purple Heart.  In 2003, he received the Distinguished Service Cross award, the Army’s second highest honor. 


We hope 2014 is the year Sergeant Johnson receives our nation's highest honor for his heroism.


WWI Hellfighter Closer to Getting Medal of Honor Award

Helen Silvis in the Skanner


It’s never too late to honor a real war hero: Editorial

The Oregonian Editorial Board


WWI African-American soldier Henry L. Johnson closer to Medal of Honor, with push from Oregon, New York

Mike Francis in The Oregonian

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

September 8, 2014

Celebrating National Arts in Education Week

September 14 - 20 is National Arts in Education Week - and there is a lot to celebrate!


National Arts in Education Week was established by Congress in 2010 to highlight the important role arts education has in producing engaged, successful, and college and career-ready students.


Art is an important part of early and long-term education because it enhances creativity and innovation.


Thanks to Portland’s voter-approved Arts Education & Access Fund, all K-5 students in our public schools now have access to art, dance, or music classes!


Also, the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s (RACC) Right Brain Initiative has expanded to nearly 60 schools across our community.  Right Brain weaves the arts into school curriculums through 8th grade. Working with our public schools, Right Brain hopes to make the arts available to every student, regardless of neighborhood, language, or income.


Learn all about RACC’s educational programs on their website


Photo courtesy of RACC.

September 5, 2014

Friday Roundup

September 5, 2014

Beach Elementary School starts year off with a rally

It’s an important time of the year students and parents – it’s the first week of school!

And for students at Beach Elementary, it has been a very exciting first week.

This morning, Nick was proud to join Knowledge Universe, Schoolhouse Supplies, Portland Trail Blazer Robin Lopez, and Principal Mary Patterson at an all-school assembly at Beach Elementary in North Portland. 

Around 300 volunteers from Knowledge Universe and Schoolhouse Supplies rang in the new school year by delivering backpacks full of school supplies for every student, along with 500 new books for the school library.

Blazers Center Robin Lopez, with mascot Blaze by his side, emphasized the importance of reading and storytelling.  An avid reader, Robin is part of a literacy campaign called ‘READ BIG,’ which encourages Portland Public School students to immerse themselves in books. Even as students and teachers alike were star-struck by the basketball player, Robin’s message was all about a lifelong love of reading.

nowledge Universe has been helping students at Beach Elementary start the year out right for the last 7 years! We’re thankful that civic-minded companies like Knowledge Universe call Portland home. Knowledge Universe partnered with local nonprofit School House Supplies, which provides teachers and students with free classroom supplies, to help make this the best school year yet.

Trail Blazers' Robin Lopez helps deliver supplies to N. Portland school

Randy Rasmussen in The Oregonian

September 4, 2014

Oregonians honor the life of Vic Atiyeh, 1923-2014


This morning, Nick was proud to join the Atiyeh family, elected officials, and hundreds of Oregonians at a public memorial for former Governor Vic Atiyeh.


Governor Atiyeh passed away in July at the age of 91.  He served as Governor for two terms (1978-1986), leading Oregonians through a difficult recession in the early 1980s. His passion, humility and statesmanship helped shape the Oregon we all love today.


Our thoughts and prayers are with the Atiyeh family.


Vic Atiyeh remembered as self-effacing 'symbol of public service' in Oregon

Jeff Mapes in The Oregonian


Oregon Remembers Former Gov. Vic Atiyeh

Amelia Templeton on OPB News


Gov. Atiyeh remembered with tributes, laughs

Peter Wong in the Portland Tribune

September 3, 2014

Our Public Utilities: Share Your Ideas

Join members of the Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) for their first public meeting on Monday, September 8 at 6 pm in the Portland Building.


In June, Nick and Mayor Hales launched the BRC, Chaired by former U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, to analyze potential reforms of the oversight and accountability of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services.


The BRC is focusing on ways to streamline communications and transparency in the rate-making process.


BRC members want to hear from you! Join them on Monday to share ideas and feedback about our public utilities – including services, billing rates, and more.


Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission

Public Listening Session #1

Monday, September 8, 2014

6 – 8:30 pm

Portland Building Room C

1120 SW 5th Avenue


Learn more about the BRC online: www.portlandoregon.gov/fish/brc

September 3, 2014

Friday Roundup

August 29, 2014

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