Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

Click here to sign up to receive these reports by email.

2019 Mid-Year Report

June 27, 2019

Dear Friend,

I write to update you on the first six months of 2019.

A new colleague and a new Parks director. Progress on environmental issues and affordable housing. Important votes on JTTF and renter protections.

In January, I was sworn in for my third full term. With the departure of Dan Saltzman, I am now the longest-serving member of Council. And we welcomed our newest colleague, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

A New Budget

This year we changed our budget process to strengthen transparency. It required us to build the budget from the ground up, which was an improvement.

A number of my priorities were funded but didn’t grab the headlines:

   • Additional resources for supportive housing

   • Full funding for the Joint Office of Homeless Services

   • A Bureau of Environmental Services rate increase of 2.95% – below the rate of inflation

   • Small investments in the Portland Film Office and the Rose Festival that generate big returns for our local economy

   • Support for environmental priorities including brownfield cleanups, a dark skies initiative to reduce urban light pollution, and the next phase of our work to clean up the Willamette River

   • An age-friendly coordinator in the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

   • Almost $700,000 to cover ongoing operations and maintenance of new parks facilities, many of which are in East Portland

This was a challenging budget year for Parks. The bureau faced a $6.3 million gap caused by costs rising quicker than revenue and by its reliance on user fees. One-time funds would not have solved the structural problem.

I am grateful to Mayor Wheeler and my colleagues for supporting significant funding to continue this year’s already-scheduled summer programming.

Parks are an important part of a healthy community. I am taking a deep dive to identify new models for funding Parks & Recreation going forward. My goal over the next 2-3 years is to put the bureau on a solid and sustainable foundation.

Parks and Recreation

Following a national search, I hired Adena Long as our new Parks director. She’s off to a great start, and we’re fortunate to have her leadership.

Parks’ premiere summer program, Summer Free For All, is in full swing. It offers free, family-friendly activities like movies and concerts in the park, swimming, and over 100,000 healthy lunches for hungry kids. Thanks to our sponsors for their generous support.

I also attended celebrations of new Parks facilities, including new playgrounds in the North Park Blocks and in Couch Park, a new community garden at David Douglas High School, and the groundbreaking for the Barbara Walker Crossing.

Protecting Our Environment

I am committed to making Portland a healthier city and protecting our urban environment.

Parks has a pest management plan that prohibits the use of avicides – bird pest controls. I partnered with Portland Audubon to extend that prohibition to all City-owned and -managed land. These poisons put people, pets, and wildlife at risk. They have absolutely no place in our community.

I’m working with Mayor Wheeler and the community to clean up the Willamette River. The City and State launched a new, unique partnership that will efficiently leverage public investment to encourage private parties to begin design work.

Portland has over 900 acres of brownfields. I’m committed to turning them into productive community use. In April, BES awarded a grant to help clean a site that will become affordable housing in North Portland.


This year, Council has taken several votes to change how we participate in the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). I believe that communication among public safety agencies keeps us all safer. In March, Council approved an updated agreement that allows us to continue working with the FBI on an as-needed basis. You can read an op-ed I wrote in The Oregonian here.

Supporting Renters

During my service on Council, I have been focused on removing barriers – in the workplace, in our economy, and in housing. I believe that when we remove arbitrary barriers, everyone wins.

That’s why I supported a bold proposal from Commissioner Eudaly to change requirements for renter screening and security deposits. I appreciate that Commissioner Eudaly extended the roll-out until next year, which will give us more time to do education and outreach, draft rules, and fine-tune the policy. I’m also pleased the Council approved my amendment to require annual reports.

Project SEARCH

I’m proud that the City continues to partner with Project SEARCH to be a model employer. That means removing barriers in the workplace and providing meaningful experience for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We expanded the program this year and graduated another great group of interns.


Many music venues in Portland have a loading zone right outside. But musicians were getting tickets for using them. Commissioner Eudaly, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and I worked with partners to develop a pilot Musician Loading Zone program.

And my team created a new special events permit for small arts and culture organizations.

Out and About

   • Appearing on KGW's Straight Talk with Laural Porter

   • Receiving the "Public Official of the Year" award from the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce

   • Hosting Senator Jeff Merkley for a town hall at East Portland Community Center

   • Participating on panels with The Intertwine Alliance and the Oregon Coalition for Living Well with Serious Illness

   • Celebrating the Portland Trail Blazers' incredible season


My battle with cancer continues. I’ve learned many lessons over the past 20 months, especially the importance of a network of loving family and friends. I’m grateful for everyone in my corner.

It’s an honor to serve on your City Council. Thanks for all that you do to make Portland a special place.



2018 Mid-Year Report

July 10, 2017

Nick at the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Awards

Dear Friend,

I write to update you on the first six months of 2018.

It has been a busy year: my re-election campaign, a new budget, progress on affordable housing, transitions for the arts, and continued threats to vulnerable communities by the federal government.

In addition to my day job as a City Commissioner, I am continuing my cancer treatment. I am grateful for my outstanding medical team – doctors and nurses at OHSU, and naturopaths in my neighborhood. But my loving and supportive family and friends are the best medicine!

In May, after nine months on the campaign trail, I was re-elected to serve another four-year term. Public service is my passion, and I’m deeply grateful for this vote of confidence. It is an honor to serve on City Council and to represent all Portlanders.

A New Budget

Our 2018-19 budget invests in homelessness and affordable homes, safe streets, basic infrastructure, community policing, older adults, and small businesses.

Council increased the business license tax from 2.2% to 2.6%, to fund improved community policing and expanded homeless services. And we kept a promise to small business owners, raising the business owners’ compensation deduction to $125,000 of net income.

We also continued to support small businesses in East Portland, permanently funding the highly-successful Catalytic Investment Initiative run by Venture Portland.

The budget includes funding for new police officers, advancing our shared commitment to community policing – freeing up time for officers to stop “chasing the radio” and get out of their cars and into the community.

Utility Financial Assistance

During Portland’s housing crisis, some of our neighbors need extra help paying their utility bill. We’ve offered struggling families and older adults utility discounts since 1995, but with one catch – you needed a water meter to qualify. Because many apartment buildings have a shared meter, renters were left out.

After much research and planning, led by my former Water Bureau liaison Liam Frost, we developed a handful of new tools to help cost-burdened renters stay in their homes.

Housing for All

Affordable housing is the reason I first ran for City Council, and it continues to be my highest priority. Council has taken important steps to address the housing crisis this year.

We dedicated $2 million to fund supportive housing services, which will help us meet our goal of 2,000 new units by 2027.

We adopted permanent renter relocation assistance, building on the protections championed by Commissioner Eudaly last year.

We waived development fees for constructing tiny homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs), boosting our supply of affordable housing.

And we required short-term rental companies and visitors to Portland to pay their fair share by increasing the per-night booking fee to $4 and dedicating the revenue to affordable housing.

Arts and Culture

I’m honored to serve as the City’s Arts Commissioner and as Council liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC).

Portland’s celebrated creative economy is at a crossroads. Rapid growth and the housing crisis threaten to displace artists and arts organizations.

In February, Council adopted a bold set of recommendations to protect and expand affordable arts spaces. Our goal is simple: to support the arts because they’re important to our local economy and our brand, they inspire us, and they make our community special.

In January, I appointed a new Creative Laureate, Subashini “Suba” Ganesan. Established in 2012, the Creative Laureate serves as the official ambassador to Portland’s creative community.

Last year, Mayor Wheeler and I asked Auditor Mary Hull Caballero to conduct the first-ever review of our partnership with RACC. The timing was good – RACC is conducting a national search for a new Executive Director, and the City and RACC are renegotiating their contract. The Auditor made common-sense recommendations – which we’re already implementing – to strengthen oversight and increase accountability of our public investments.

Protecting Water, Salmon, and the Environment

My bureaus, Environmental Services and Water, are committed to making Portland a healthier, more sustainable city.

Work at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge will restore habitat for salmon. By removing a small culvert, salmon will return to Oaks Bottom for the first time in nearly 100 years!

We reached a major milestone in our ongoing “Poop to Power” effort – opening the City’s first natural gas fueling station. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, replace dirty diesel fuel with clean natural gas, and ultimately deliver a profit for ratepayers.

Council approved a new position at Prosper Portland to help turn brownfields into community assets.

And Mayor Wheeler and I continue to work with the community, as well as public and private parties, to clean up the Willamette River.

A More Welcoming City

When we remove barriers and support a more inclusive community, everyone wins.

This year, I launched a pilot program in my bureaus to provide opportunities and job experience for people with disabilities. We’re expanding the successful partnership with Project SEARCH in the coming year.

Last month, Council proudly renamed SW Stark Street in honor of gay rights leader Harvey Milk.

And we preserved funding for Elders in Action in the budget, so we can continue our partnership on the Age-Friendly Action Plan.

Safe Streets

One death on our streets is too many. I am a strong supporter of Vision Zero and will continue prioritizing investments in safe streets, especially in East Portland. As part of that commitment, I supported lowering speed limits on residential streets to 20 MPH.

Transportation network companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft, have made it easier for people to get around town. That said, Uber in particular has a history of refusing to play by our rules. In April, they issued the City a formal apology and asked for a fresh start.

As Council renegotiates Uber’s operating agreement, I will continue to advocate for consumers and drivers, focusing on making sure TNC drivers are adequately insured. And recently, I proudly stood with TNC drivers and labor leaders to call for the creation of a TNC Wage Board, an oversight group to give drivers a voice in the workplace. Council approved a wage board in May.

Planning for Portland’s Future

Council finished two major planning processes: the Comprehensive Plan and the Central City 2035 Plan. Both plans are the result of years-long processes with extensive public input, staff work, and Council deliberations.

Proud Moments

   - Watching my son Chapin graduate from middle school. He’ll be attending Lincoln High School in the fall.

   - Joining Portland Public Schools students at Roosevelt High School in a walkout supporting responsible gun control.

   - Witnessing the swearing-in of Judge Adrienne Nelson to the Oregon State Supreme Court – the first African-American to serve on our state’s highest bench.

   - Celebrating the 20th anniversary of White Bird, and the 25th anniversary of the Muslim Educational Trust.

   - Participating on panels with Multnomah County Library to discuss what it means to be a “Sanctuary City” and KGW-TV to discuss trust in government.

   - Receiving Community Partner Awards from Friends of Trees and Metropolitan Youth Symphony.

In Memoriam

Former Mayor Vera Katz was a visionary leader who helped shape modern Portland. I admired the way she dealt with her illness, as a public official and as a private citizen.

Reverend Dr. W. G. “Will” Hardy was a model “servant leader,” dedicating a lifetime of service to our community. Pastor Hardy will always be remembered for his advocacy for vulnerable people.

Staff Changes

We said goodbye to Amira Streeter, who is joining the Governor’s team as a Natural Resources Policy Advisor. Asena Lawrence will take over Amira’s role as Policy Director. And Mariana Garcia Medina will serve as our new Scheduler and Office Manager.

Thank You

Everything we do at City Hall requires collaboration. Thank you for what you do to make Portland a special place. I am honored to serve on your City Council.


Nick Fish

Nick Touring the Under-Construction OHSU Knight Cancer Research Building Nick Meeting with the Native American Portland Youth And Elders Council
Nick at Sister Cities Reception Rally Supporting Responsible Gun Control
Nick at Friends of Trees Awards Nick with Creative Laureate Suba Ganesan

2017 Year in Review

December 21, 2017

Dear Friend,

I write to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season and to share some highlights from this year.

We faced unprecedented challenges in 2017. But we also witnessed the best in Portlanders – working together to build a stronger community and a better city. As my friend Wajdi Said says, “we need more love and light in the town square.” I am proud of the progress we made together.

My Cancer Treatment
In August, I was diagnosed with abdominal cancer. As I have learned, the path forward is a marathon, not a sprint. Still, I am filled with gratitude. We're making great progress. I have excellent doctors and nurses at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute and practitioners at An Hao Clinic. And I have a loving family and strong support from the community.

Millions of Americans are fighting cancer and other chronic diseases every day. They all deserve our compassion and support.

A New Budget
Our 2017-18 budget invests in homelessness, family-wage jobs, safe streets, and East Portland. Mayor Wheeler deserves credit for leading a collaborative and transparent process.

Housing for All
During a storm last winter, Karen Lee Batts died of hypothermia in a downtown parking garage. A shelter only a couple blocks away had room for her. For many people on our streets, especially those who struggle with mental health crises and addiction, shelter or traditional affordable housing simply isn’t enough.

Supportive housing is a nationally-recognized solution that combines a safe and deeply affordable permanent home with intensive services. In October, the City and Multnomah County adopted a vision, which I helped lead, of adding 2,000 units of supportive housing in the next 10 years.

We have also taken other important actions to address the housing crisis: opening new shelter beds, funding new affordable housing developments, extending the housing state of emergency, enacting historic renter protections, and making record investments in the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

Our Clean and Green Future
My bureaus, Environmental Services and Water, are taking bold action to promote a healthy, sustainable city:

   - Celebrating the return of salmon to local creeks and designating Crystal Springs Creek Portland’s first Salmon Sanctuary.

   - Announcing a plan to convert 100% of the methane gas from our sewage treatment process into renewable energy. “Poop to Power” is a triple win – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, replacing dirty diesel fuel with clean natural gas, and delivering a profit for our ratepayers.

   - Approving a new tax incentive to help us clean up over 900 acres of brownfields.

In January, the EPA released its cleanup plan for the Portland Harbor Superfund site. We are committed to moving forward with implementing the Record of Decision. But recently, the City learned that several private parties have asked EPA to reconsider fundamental decisions and agreements. The move could potentially delay cleanup work by a decade or more. Mayor Wheeler and I wrote a letter calling for EPA to work with all stakeholders, not just a select few. EPA recently announced an improved agreement. Things are moving forward, and we’re keeping a close eye on the progress.

Protecting Water Quality and Affordability
Portland is fortunate to have an abundance of clean, safe, and reliable water. And we’re making long-term investments to maintain public health, safety, and affordability:

   - This year, we detected trace amounts of the micro-organism Cryptosporidium in the Bull Run Watershed. Although our water remains safe to drink, our state and federal regulators revoked our limited-term treatment variance – the only one in the country. After robust public input and careful consideration, Council unanimously decided to build a filtration facility. It’s an investment in our future, protecting our water system from challenges like climate change, a natural disaster, or future regulations.

   - Although our source water and distribution pipes are lead-free, some older homes have bad plumbing. We’re adjusting the pH of our water to keep lead from leaching out of bad pipes and faucets.

   - Some of our neighbors need a little extra help paying their utility bill. We’re working on a plan to expand our nationally-recognized financial assistance program.

   - And thanks to the Big Pipe, the Willamette River is cleaner than it’s been in decades. BES tested the water every week during the summer and the Mayor even went for a swim!

Good Government
At a time of declining public trust in many institutions, including government, it is important that we earn that trust every day:

   - We ask a lot of our citizen boards and commissions, and count on them for good advice. But we haven’t always given them the necessary tools to be successful. I led a reform effort to increase the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of advisory bodies. It establishes long-overdue standards like mandatory disclosure of conflicts of interest, a uniform application, and robust training.

   - I strongly supported Measure 26-189, sponsored by Auditor Mary Hull Caballero. It increases the independence of the elected City Auditor and passed overwhelmingly in the May election.

A More Welcoming City
We reaffirmed our status as a Sanctuary Citysupporting our immigrants and refugees.

We stood up for our local DREAMers, demanding prompt action from Congress and funding a grant to the Oregon DACA Coalition to help offset the costs of DACA renewal. My newest staff member, Mariana Garcia Medina, herself a DREAMer, co-authored the resolution.

And I challenged the business community to convert their single-stall restrooms to all-user, removing an arbitrary and unnecessary barrier. Businesses eagerly stepped up and made their restrooms more accessible. And earlier today, we celebrated its successful completion!

Protecting Workers and Consumers
I continue to be concerned about the impact out-of-state technology companies – who refuse to play by our rules – have on consumers and workers.

Uber is a notoriously bad actor. They operated illegally, then tried to make an end run around Portland’s regulations. They hid a massive data breach for over a year. They attempted to strip workers of important rights. And it took a subpoena to get them to disclose how they evaded Portland regulators with “Greyball.” Next year, we will consider tougher regulations, including new ways to keep the public safe.

We are finalizing a registration system so the City knows who’s renting their home on Airbnb and HomeAway. It’s a simple way to make sure hosts have a business license and a working smoke detector.

And voters approved Measure 26-194, which I sponsored. It ensures that out-of-state companies like HomeAway pay the same lodging tax as a mom-and-pop bed and breakfast in St. Johns. A win for tax fairness.

Arts and Culture
I’m honored to serve as the City’s Arts Commissioner and liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council. This year brought a lot of changes to RACC and the arts in Portland:

   - The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Arts Tax is constitutional. That’s great news for the over 30,000 Portland kids who will continue to have arts education in school.

   - We protected funding for Open Signal and the Portland Film Office in this year’s budget.

   - An iconic piece of Portland history and culture has returned! Thanks to Restore Oregon, the Jantzen Beach Carousel will one day have a permanent home.

   -  We’re working with the community to develop a plan for more affordable arts and performance spaces, which will increase economic activity and jobs.

   - RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch retired after a long and distinguished career. I will work closely with the next leader to advance Portland’s vision of a vibrant, accessible, and equitable creative economy.

   - At the request of Mayor Wheeler and me, Auditor Mary Hull Caballero is conducting the first-ever performance audit of RACC.

   - In 2012, the City established a Creative Laureate to serve as the official ambassador to the arts community. We will announce the next Creative Laureate in early January.

Supporting Small Businesses and Good Jobs
As the City’s liaison to Venture Portland, the support system for our 50 neighborhood business districts, I am working to strengthen local businesses and grow good-paying jobs:

   - Securing funding to continue a successful business incubator program in East and North Portland.

   - Selling Terminal 1 – preserving scarce industrial land, generating good family-wage jobs, and delivering a solid return for ratepayers.

   - Strongly supporting Community Benefits Agreements, which ensure that workers get high-road jobs and the training they need, while providing broader opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses.

Proud Moments
   - Working with the Mayor to eliminate the “48-hour rule,” a key part of our police reform agenda.

   - Launching a partnership with Project Search, providing opportunities at the City for people with disabilities.

   - Presenting SMYRC and the Muslim Educational Trust with Spirit of Portland Awards.

   - Celebrating Portland traditions like the Rose Festival and Veterans Day Parade.

   - Meeting former Vice President Joe Biden and hearing the deeply personal story of his son’s battle with cancer.

Above and Beyond
The Water Bureau Emergency Management Team. They stepped up during the Eagle Creek Fire to make sure our water supply was safe.

In Praise of Heroes
We honor the heroism of Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, three strangers who intervened on behalf of two young women who were being harassed on a MAX train. Two of these brave heroes paid the ultimate price.

In Memoriam
We recently lost former Mayor Vera Katz. I will never forget the time we spent together on the “Flight for Freedom” after 9/11. She spoke for all Oregonians, offering love and support for the people of New York. It was an honor to know Vera, and she leaves a lasting legacy.

Thank You
Everything we do at City Hall requires collaboration. I am grateful to my City Hall team led by Sonia Schmanski, the public servants who work for my bureaus, my Council colleagues, and Portlanders across our city for the progress we made this year.

Thank you for the honor of serving our City.


Nick Fish

Music in City Hall

2017 Mid-Year Report

June 29, 2017

Nick at the 2017 Pride Parade

Dear Friend,

The first six months of 2017 were unprecedented.

A new Mayor and Commissioner. A new President. A surge in hate crimes. Disruptions at City Council. Resistance and progress.

At City Hall, I am working with the community to protect our values. At a time when we can’t count on leadership from Washington, I’m proud of our progress at the local level.

Response to Trump

President Trump wasted little time issuing illegal executive orders, proposing draconian budget cuts, and making executive appointments at odds with Portland values.

In response, the City Council took a number of important actions, including:

   • Adopting a “Sanctuary City” resolution – sending a message to Portland’s many diverse communities – you are welcome here.

   • And joining lawsuits challenging Trump’s “Muslim travel ban.”

I participated in numerous public forums, opposing the rising tide of hate and intolerance. My family proudly marched for women's rights.

And I authored an essay, published in Street Roots, defending funding for Legal Services.

Portland Heroes

In May, a savage attack on a MAX train left two dead and one injured. As our community grieved, we also celebrated the heroism of three Good Samaritans: Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher. I was honored to attend the celebration of Rick’s life and service.

A Progressive Budget

Council adopted a new budget to guide our work in 2017-18. The process, led by Mayor Wheeler, was collaborative and inclusive.

The budget funds many of my priorities, including:

   • Basic infrastructure

   • New tools to address our housing crisis

   • Venture Portland, the Portland Film Office, Open Signal, Village Market, and the Rose Festival

   • Vision Zero

   • East Portland equity

And, for the fourth year in a row, we adopted responsible utility rates, continuing to prioritize basic services and preparations for the “Big One.”

Housing for All

Council took a number of key actions to address the housing crisis, including:

   • Allocating over $26 million to the Joint Office for Homelessness.

   • Appointing an oversight body for the recently-passed Housing Bond. My appointee was Todd Struble, a leader with APANO and the Jade District.

   • Adopting landmark renter relocation assistance, to help soften the blow when renters are displaced because of a no-cause eviction or an excessive rent increase.

   • Establishing a $2 surcharge on short-term rentals to fund affordable housing.

   • Working with community partners to provide more affordable and accessible housing for older adults.

   • Creating an “Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs.”

   • Lobbying the State Legislature for two key reforms: an end to no-cause evictions, and lifting the pre-emption on rent stabilization.

And I continue to push for more resources to fund “permanent supportive housing” – affordable homes with the services low-income adults and families need to be successful.

Our Clean and Green Future

The Council took bold action to combat climate change and support a clean energy future. On the day that President Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, we adopted a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Mayor Wheeler and I are leading the City’s efforts to clean up the Willamette River. While changes at the EPA pose significant risks to our environment, we are committed to engaging all of our stakeholders and moving the Superfund process forward.

And, our public utilities are doing their part. We're planning for the future by making cost-effective investments in resilience, energy-efficiency, and green infrastructure.

“Poop to Power”

BES announced an innovative plan to convert 100% of the methane gas from our sewage treatment process into renewable energy. The result is a triple win. We'll reduce greenhouse gas emissions, replace dirty diesel fuel with clean natural gas, and deliver a profit for our ratepayers.

Hannah Mason Pump Station

The Water Bureau dedicated a new pump station in Willamette Park. The Hannah Mason Pump Station is built to survive the “Big One.” And working with the Energy Trust of Oregon, it will save ratepayers $160,000 a year in energy costs.

Green Streets, Bioswales, and Urban Watersheds

In every corner of our city, volunteers help BES make our city cleaner and greener. From Green Street Stewards, who plant new vegetation and remove sediment from bioswales, to community partners who care for our urban watersheds. Together, we’re making Portland a healthier city and bringing salmon back to our neighborhoods.

Protecting Water Quality

Portland is fortunate to have an abundance of clean, safe, and reliable water. Working with our state and federal regulators, we are making long-term investments in public health and safety.

This winter, following heavy rains, we detected trace amounts of the parasite Cryptosporidium in the Bull Run Watershed. As a result, the Oregon Health Authority revoked our limited-term treatment variance—the only variance granted to an open-source water system in the country. Council is considering a number of options.

We are also working with our regulators to reduce exposure to lead. While our source water and distribution pipes are lead-free, our water passes through bad plumbing fixtures in some “high-risk” homes. We are planning to adjust the pH of our water to make it less corrosive.

Good Government

By strengthening accountability and transparency in government, we build public trust.

I strongly supported Measure 26-189, sponsored by Auditor Mary Hull Caballero. It increases the independence of the elected City Auditor and passed overwhelmingly in the May election.

We ask a lot of our citizen boards and commissions, and count on them for good advice. But too often we do not give them the tools to be successful. That’s why I am leading a reform effort, including mandatory disclosure of conflicts of interest and robust training to support these community volunteers.

Protecting Consumers

When bad actors in the so-called “sharing economy” refuse to play by the rules, I have been standing up for consumers.

I sponsored Measure 26-194 in the May election. It passed with 62% of the vote, and authorizes the Council require internet companies like HomeAway to pay the lodging tax so everyone is taxed fairly.

Commissioner Saltzman and I demanded that Uber turn over information about their use of technology to evade regulators. When they failed to do so, the Council issued a subpoena for the documents.

And because we have a duty to ensure that guests are safe, I am also working with the City Attorney to require companies like Airbnb to disclose the names and addresses of their hosts.

Supporting our Local Small Businesses

I serve as Council liaison to Venture Portland, the umbrella organization for our 50 neighborhood business districts.

This year’s budget continues funding for a successful program we launched to strengthen local small businesses in East and North Portland.

And I worked with local business leaders on important issues in our community, holding roundtable discussions with neighborhood business leaders, launching the “All-User Challenge,” and – after the winter storms hammered our local small businesses – writing an essay to encourage people to show the love and shop local on Valentine’s Day.

Arts and Culture

I’m passionate about arts and culture, and proud to serve as Council liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). Here are a few highlights:

   • Executive Director Eloise Damrosch announced her retirement, after 30 years of exemplary service to our community.

   • Over 30,000 kids benefit from the Arts Tax. The Oregon Supreme Court heard arguments on the sixth and final legal challenge; a decision is expected later this year.

   • The Mayor and I requested a performance audit of RACC – the first in its history.

   • Council celebrated the 25th anniversary of Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, a leading center for Native American art.

   • And the community celebrated the sixth and final season of Grimm with a tree planting in Pier Park.

Portland Rose Festival

This year, Mayor Wheeler asked me to serve as liaison to the Rose Festival, the City’s official festival.

We executed an official agreement with the Rose Festival, and secured a $100,000 grant to support their work. Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade Committee, and I participated in the Starlight Parade.

New Faces on the Fish Team

We welcomed a number of new staff members, and said thank you to others.

Amira Streeter and Todd Lofgren joined our team. Amira, a graduate of Lewis and Clark law school, will focus on Superfund, community development, and citywide policy issues. Todd, who previously worked for Parks, will serve as my liaison to both public utilities.

Jim Blackwood retired after nearly eight years of public service. He worked on many important initiatives, like new oversight bodies for our utilities. And Liam Frost transitioned to the Water Bureau, where he will work on priority projects like expanding the low-income discount program.

The decline in civility in the public square hit City Hall hard. We have witnessed frequent protests, disruptions, and threatening behavior. For some City Hall staffers, it has created a hostile work environment. I am proud of Asena Lawrence for speaking up, including in this piece by Amelia Templeton on OPB.

Thank You

As always, I am honored to serve on your City Council.

Thank you for what you do to make Portland a better place.


Nick Fish

2016 Year in Review

Dear Friend,

As 2016 comes to an end, I want to share some reflections on the past year with you.

The big story, of course, is the surprising election of Donald Trump. The campaign was ugly and divisive. And President-elect Trump’s early moves on the environment, housing, civil rights, and immigration represent a clear threat to Portland values.

Portland continues to experience growing pains. We elected a new mayor and commissioner. The Council and the community responded to the housing crisis with historic new investments in affordable homes. We completed work on a 20-year vision for Portland’s future, and we took bold action to combat climate change. And we adopted a comprehensive plan to reduce traffic fatalities.

I cast some tough votes on high profile issues. I supported a police contract which addressed an acute staffing crisis and eliminated the "48 hour" rule. I opposed a new system of public finance for campaigns because I thought we should first ask taxpayers for their permission. And I disagreed with a proposal to build a mass shelter at Terminal 1 North because it was inconsistent with our long-term goals for growing family-wage jobs.

As always, I listened to people on all sides of the issues, and was guided by my values and principles.

Because of all the headwinds that we face, public service is more important than ever. That’s why I am so grateful for the people in our community who work tirelessly and with little fanfare to make our city a better place. And the best part of my job is that I get to partner with each of you.

Here are some of the highlights from 2016:


We are about to welcome two new members of City Council: Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. And we say thank you to Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick for their many years of public service.

My family spent last year in Europe. When my wife and kids returned home this summer, we sold our house and moved into a rental apartment in Goose Hollow. Now, Patricia and I both walk to work, and our son takes a bus to his middle school.

Delivering Safe Drinking Water

Portlanders are justifiably proud of their drinking water. We continue to work closely with state and federal regulators to protect the quality of our Bull Run water. This fall, Water Bureau director Mike Stuhr and I updated Council and the community about what our team is doing to deliver safe, clean, and reliable water to the region.

Protecting Salmon

My bureaus are working hard to restore salmon habitat in the Willamette River and our urban watersheds. The Crystal Springs Creek Restoration Project is a model public-private partnership. Because of our collective efforts, Portland is now the first certified salmon-safe city in the world.

Preparing for the “Big One”

The Water Bureau is preparing for future earthquakes by replacing and strengthening old pipes and storage tanks. In September, we broke ground on the Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project. The new reservoirs will be buried underground and reinforced to the highest seismic standards. And soon we’ll start construction on the Willamette River Crossing Project, which will ensure uninterrupted water to west side homes and businesses.

Housing for All

While Portland continues to face a housing crisis, we made steady progress.

The Welcome Home Coalition helped pass a historic affordable housing bond. I played a leadership role, raising money and campaigning for it. This important new tool will fund safe, decent, and affordable homes for the most vulnerable people in our community.

I teamed up with Commissioner Dan Saltzman to require that all revenue from short-term rentals (like Airbnb) be dedicated to investments in housing for low-income Portlanders. I pushed for a significant increase in urban renewal funds to build affordable homes. And the Council unanimously adopted a historic inclusionary housing policy.

In 2017, we will focus on strengthening renter protections and expanding housing choice.

Helping Small Businesses Thrive

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. I’m proud to serve as the liaison to Venture Portland, which supports and advocates for our 50 neighborhood business districts. In our last budget, we invested in local businesses citywide and expanded our commitment to East Portland businesses.

Creating Jobs at Terminal 1

opposed a plan to turn Terminal 1 North—14 acres of prime industrial land owned by the Bureau of Environmental Services—into a mass shelter. After the deal fell through, we put the property back on the market. We now have an Oregon-based buyer and hope to finalize the sale soon. This sale will be a win-win-win: protecting scarce industrial land, creating family-wage jobs, and returning the proceeds to ratepayers.

More Sunshine at City Hall

Working with public interest groups, I sponsored new ethics reforms to strengthen transparency and accountability. Portland is now the second city in the nation to require “political consultants” to register and disclose their activities. The public has a right to know who’s influencing the decisions of their elected officials.

The Portland Utility Board and Citizens’ Utility Board continue to fulfill their promise of strong, independent oversight of our utilities.

And I supported Auditor Hull Caballero’s proposal to limit the “revolving door.” Now, when bureau directors and Commissioners’ staff leave City service, they must wait two years before returning as a lobbyist.

Arts: The Soul of a City

Portland is known for its vibrant arts community. Art, culture, and heritage are part of the soul of our city. As liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, I issued my year-end report, highlighting the wins we achieved together, like expanding operating support for community-based arts organizations, and the challenges we face going forward.

A Portland for People of All Ages and Abilities

We continued to work with passionate community partners to make Portland a more welcoming place for people of all ages and abilities.

We made all single-stall restrooms in our parks and City buildings all-user. Commissioner Fritz and I hosted a ribbon-cutting at Dawson Park to celebrate the conversion of more than 600 restrooms. They are now accessible to everyone—older adults, parents with young children, people with personal attendants, and transgender individuals.

In October, I traveled to Chicago to speak at the AARP Livable Communities Conference. Along with partners from AARP Oregon, we discussed how Portland is building an age-friendly community and bringing more older adults into important conversations about the future of our city.

Local Heroes

Every year, we honor local heroes with Spirit of Portland awards. This year, I selected Rosa Parks Elementary Principal Tamala Newsome and Vanport Mosaic. They represent the very best of our community.

For 25 years, the Lowenstein Trust has recognized outstanding community leaders. This year’s award went to the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. During the Council presentation, I thanked outgoing Board Chair Michelle Harper for her many years of service, and was humbled to be named an Honorary Trustee.

I continue to be inspired by educators in our community (including my wife Patricia!). This year, I spent time with Ms. Dana Absgarten, a 7th and 8th grade teacher at the Metropolitan Learning Center, and with Margaret Calvert, an award-winning Principal at Jefferson High School. I saw, first-hand, how they positively impact our youth.

Standing in Solidarity

I am proud of all the Portlanders who are standing up against misogyny, racism, bigotry, and hatred in our community.

In October, I joined the community at the Muslim Educational Trust as we welcomed Khizr Khan to Oregon. He spoke eloquently about the idea of “equal dignity” under the law. Local business owners continue to display posters in their store windows, demonstrating solidarity with people of all races, religions, national origins, genders, and sexual orientations. And I participated in numerous peaceful vigils and rallies against hate and intolerance.

Happy Birthday, Governor Barbara Roberts

In December, I joined over 600 people at a celebration in honor of Governor Barbara Roberts’ 80th birthday. Over a lifetime of public service, she has been a champion for death with dignity, marriage equality, and reproductive freedom.

In her 1991 inaugural address, during another challenging period in our state’s history, Governor Roberts offered a clear vision and hope. She declared that “[we] will come out on the other side—stronger, better, more healthy, more diverse, more Oregon.”

And she challenged Oregonians to rise to the occasion. “For each generation has but one chance to be judged by future generations. And this is our time.”

Governor Roberts has inspired generations of people to pursue public service, especially young women leaders. I am proud to call her my friend, mentor, and role model.


It is an honor to serve on your City Council, to work with the talented professionals in my City Hall office and my bureaus, and to partner with Venture Portland, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Elders in Action to make Portland a better place.

Thanks for all you do for our community!


Nick Fish

Preparing Washington Park for the "Big One" Portland Voters Say "Yes" to Affordable Homes
Celebrating 600 All-User Restrooms Happy 80th Birthday, Governor Roberts!
Salmon-Safe Portland Khizr Khan at the Muslim Educational Trust
Terminal 1 For Sale Nick and Rep. Bonamici Supporting Neighborhood Small Business