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Nick Fish

Commissioner, City of Portland

phone: 503-823-3589

Email: nick@portlandoregon.gov

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

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Nick's Record

Nick leads the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau.

He also serves as Council liaison to Elders in ActionVenture Portland, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the Portland Rose Festival Foundation. And he coordinates the City's work to clean up the Willamette River.

Good Government Our Housing Crisis Reforming Our Utilities

Good Government

Our Housing Crisis

Reforming Our Utilities

Justice For All Safe Streets

Justice For All

Safe Streets

Community Policing Protecting Consumers Prosperity and Opportunity

Community Policing

Protecting Consumers

Prosperity and Opportunity

Age-Friendly Portland A Clean and Green Future

Age-Friendly Portland

A Clean and Green Future

Arts and Culture Kids and Schools Parks for People

Arts and Culture

Kids and Schools

Parks for People

 

Good Government

Nick is working to bring more sunshine to City Hall. By strengthening accountability and transparency, we build more public trust in government.

     • Sponsoring new reforms to require political consultants to register with the City and disclose their activities – because the public has a right to know who's influencing the decisions of their elected officials.

     • Reforming our volunteer boards and commissions – including mandatory disclosure of conflicts of interest.

     • Advocating for greater independence for our elected City Auditor and the City Budget Office.

     • Pressing to reinstate the Chief Financial Officer to oversee our $3.8 billion budget.

     • Giving utility ratepayers a stronger voice by establishing the Portland Utility Board and forging a one-of-a-kind partnership with the Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon.

     • Supporting the Auditor's proposal to waive fees for people who challenge City rulings.

     • Co-sponsoring a resolution to create an independent oversight committee for City technology projects to ensure public dollars are being spent wisely.

     • Working with the community to develop a new and more transparent framework for disposing of surplus property.

     • Volunteering with the Classroom Law Project and judging the annual "We the People" competition.

 

Our Housing Crisis

Nick believes everyone has the right to a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. He is a two-time recipient of the "Low Income Housing Champion Award" from the Community Alliance of Tenants.

     • Creating the Portland Housing Bureau, placing all of the City's housing functions and resources under one roof.

     • Establishing the new Portland Housing Advisory Commission (PHAC) – a citizen-led group that oversees the bureau's work.

     • Working with community partners to pass Portland's first affordable housing bond.

     • Advocating for "permanent supportive housing" – deeply affordable housing combined with intensive services for people struggling with mental illness and addiction.

     • Supporting mandatory inclusionary zoning, and upstream investments to prevent homelessness and rapidly re-house unsheltered people.

     • Supporting new protections for renters, including relocation assistance, the creation of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs, and more funding for safety inspections.

     • Voting to declare a housing state of emergency.

     • Addressing the impact of short-term rentals on the housing crisis by dedicating lodging taxes to affordable housing.

     • Establishing the City's first severe weather emergency plan for the homeless, with the goal of saving lives during winter storms.

     • Convening community partners to help Portland renters using federal Section 8 vouchers be more successful in finding homes and pressing Salem to outlaw discrimination against Section 8 renters.

     • Leading the City's efforts to end veteran's homelessness through "Operation 305," the construction of Gray's Landing, and securing new federal VASH Vouchers.

     • Opening the award-winning Bud Clark Commons, a LEED Platinum building combining affordable apartments, emergency shelter beds, and services under one roof.

     • Opposing discrimination in housing by launching the City's first-ever Fair Housing Action Plan, and helping renters impacted by gentrification and displacement.

     • Holding developers accountable by strengthening Council oversight of property tax breaks.

     • Securing new federal funding from HUD's "Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS" (HOPWA) program.

 

Reforming Our Utilities

Nick leads our public utilities. He is focused on delivering basic services at a fair price and preparing for the "Big One."

     • Protecting the Bull Run Watershed and working to keep our drinking water cleansafe, and reliable.

     • Stabilizing utility rates by prioritizing basic services, exercising fiscal discipline, and maintaining good credit ratings.

     • Helping renters and homeowners who need a little extra help paying their utility bill through the Low-Income Discount program.

     • Preparing for a major earthquake – the "Big One" – by burying our reservoirs and planning for a new, safe pipe under the Willamette River.

     • Investing in "green infrastructure" – like bioswales – to harness the power of nature and save ratepayers money, and working with community partners like Friends of Trees to expand our urban tree canopy.

     • Co-leading the campaign against the proposed hostile takeover of our public utilities by big polluters.

 

Justice For All

Nick was a civil rights lawyer prior to his service on the Council. As Commissioner, he is working to make Portland a more welcoming city for all.

     • Supporting the creation of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, developing equity plans for his bureaus, and fostering relationships with the Native American community through a dedicated tribal liaison.

     • Affirming our status as a sanctuary city, and supporting funding for "Portlanders United Against Hate."

     • Challenging President Trump's decision to rescind DACA, and co-sponsoring a Council resolution in support of our Dreamers.

     • Leading the effort to convert the City's single-stall restrooms to "All-User" and challenging the business community to do the same.

     • Working with Basic Rights Oregon to advocate for marriage equality and with Cascade AIDS Project to expand access to healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community.

     • Supporting earned sick leave for working families, and a $15 minimum wage for full-time City workers.

     • Voting to require closed captioning on televisions in public places like airports and restaurants.

     • Launching a pilot program to help people with intellectual disabilities access job training and meaningful work.

     • Strengthening the voice of East Portland by supporting and funding the "East Portland Action Plan."

     • Voting to "Ban the Box" – because everyone deserves a second chance.

     • Serving as Council sponsor of the annual Steve Lowenstein award, honoring social justice heroes in our community.

     • Supporting the Campaign for Equal Justice and advocating for additional funding for legal services for the poor.

 

Safe Streets

Nick walks to work and regularly rides his bike. He is passionate about Vision Zero and expanding our active transportation network.

     • Advocating for Vision Zero and new safety investments for East Portland's most dangerous streets.

     • Working with the Bureau of Environmental Services and its partners at the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Venture Portland to reduce the impact of construction projects on neighborhood business districts.

     • Expanding our active transportation network through the Bike Master Plan and Bikeshare, and working with community partners to provide access to off-road cycling at Gateway Green.

     • Supporting new ways to improve safety for all road users through programs like "Better Naito."

 

Community Policing

Nick is working with his Council colleagues to reform the Police Bureau, strengthen community policing, and ensure that our police officers treat everyone with fairness and respect.

     • Working with the community to implement the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on officer use-of-force, and to improve interactions with people experiencing a mental health crisis.

     • Supporting a new collective bargaining agreement with the Portland Police Association to strengthen recruitment and retention, and partnering with Mayor Wheeler to eliminate the “48-Hour Rule.”

     • Ensuring strong public oversight of our police officers by supporting the Auditor's Independent Police Review division.

     • Improving training by prioritizing funding for a new police training center.

     • Helping those experiencing a mental health crisis get the services they need by supporting funding for the Unity Center.

     • Supporting funding for the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence and accelerating rape kit testing.

     • Expanding the Park Rangers program to make our parks and natural areas safer, and dedicating two rangers to protect the Springwater Corridor and other eastside natural areas.

     • Participating in ride-alongs with police officers to learn more about street-level law enforcement.

 

Protecting Consumers

When bad actors in the so-called "sharing economy" refuse to play by the rules, Nick has been standing up for consumers and workers.

     • Sponsoring Measure 26-194 – to ensure that internet companies like Airbnb and HomeAway pay the same lodging tax as a mom-and-pop bed and breakfast in St. Johns.

     • Supporting new requirements for short-term rental companies to disclose the names and addresses of their hosts, so we can make sure their guests are safe.

     • Voting to issue subpoenas to Uber, compelling them to disclose information about their use of technology to evade regulators.

     • Partnering with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to address elder abuse and fraud.

 

Prosperity and Opportunity

As Council liaison to Venture Portland, Nick advocates for the buy local movement and for our 50 neighborhood business districts.

     • Securing new funding and support for small businesses in East and North Portland.

     • Convening community stakeholders to plan for the Portland Harbor Superfund clean-up, with the goal of ensuring that local workers and businesses benefit from our investments in a clean river.

     • Selling Terminal 1, a triple-win that preserves scarce industrial land, generates good family-wage jobs, and delivers a solid return for our ratepayers.

     • Working with the Council to cut red tape and streamline permitting for cannabis businesses.

     • Supporting the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative and Local Improvement Districts to foster economic development, grow small businesses, and create family-wage jobs.

     • Helping local businesses become certified "B Corps," building Portland's brand as a place for sustainable business.

     • Encouraging Portlanders to "Buy Local" and advocating for makers and local artisans.

     • Working to expand opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses through equitable contracting.

 

Age-Friendly Portland

Nick is the Council liaison to Elders in Action, and is committed to making our city more welcoming and accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

     • Joining the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in 2010.

     • Working with community partners to develop, implement, and fund Age-Friendly Action Plan.

     • Leading the "11x13" campaign, which saved more than 700 affordable homes in eleven at-risk apartment buildings – homes for older adults and people with disabilities.

     • Protecting housing and parks programs that serve older adults.

 

A Clean and Green Future

Nick is proud to serve on a Council that adopted the joint City-County Climate Action Plan, committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and is a national leader in sustainability.

     • Protecting urban natural areas like River View and Crystal Springs Creek.

     • Celebrating the return of salmon to our urban watersheds and Portland's designation as the first "salmon-safe" city.

     • Launching "poop-to-power," a plan to convert methane gas from the Bureau of Environmental Services' sewage treatment plant into renewable natural gas.

     • Developing a new tool, the Brownfield Tax Incentive, to improve public health and create jobs.

     • Protecting our urban wetlands and wildlife by successfully advocating for a "no-wake zone" in the Ross Island Lagoon and Holgate Channel.

     • "Banning the Bag" in 2011, removing millions of plastic bags from landfills every year.

     • Supported bringing a lawsuit against Monsanto for contaminating our waterways with PCBs.

     • Prioritizing funding for small grants to community partners like Depave, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Tryon Creek Watershed Council, and Verde.

 

Arts and Culture

Nick previously served as the Vice Chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust. As the City's Arts Commissioner, he believes arts, culture, and heritage are the soul of our city.

     • Supporting arts education in our schools, and changes to the Arts Tax to make it fairer.

     • Protecting funding for the Portland Film Office and Open Signal.

     • Requesting the first-ever performance audit of the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

     • Advocating for investments in small grants that prioritize local, emerging, and diverse artists.

     • Preserving Portland culture and heritage by working with community partners to save the Portland Jazz Festival.

 

Kids and Schools

Nick's wife Patricia teaches history at Portland State. Their son is an 8th grader in Portland Public Schools. Nick and his family understand the importance of a good public education to our children's future.

     • Advocating for stable and adequate funding for education, K-12.

     • Supporting bond measures to modernize and upgrade schools and protect student health.

     • Supporting new partnerships and funding for SUN Schools.

     • Improving access to safe playing fields at Grant High School and Buckman Field.

     • Advocating for innovative community partnerships to close the achievement gap, like Faubion School in NE Portland.

     • Supporting funding for school bus passes for low-income students.

     • Participating in "Superintendent for a Day" and "Teacher for a Day" events at local public schools.

 

Parks for People

Under Nick's watch, Portland Parks and Recreation strengthened public-private partnerships, and was named the best-managed parks system in the nation.

     • Working with community partners to pass a bond to modernize our parks, improve accessibility, and reduce the maintenance backlog.

     • Expanding the Park Rangers program to make our parks and natural areas safer, and dedicating two rangers to protect the Springwater Corridor and other eastside natural areas.

     • Bringing park improvements like new playgrounds to underserved communities in East Portland through "E-205."

     • Working with Commissioner Fritz to expand parks in East Portland by acquiring land, completing community-led master plans, and funding new construction.

     • Establishing 1,000 new community gardens to improve the health of our community, kicking the junk food out of our recreation centers, and sponsoring healthy initiatives like the Village Market.

     • Strengthening community partnerships with Leach Botanical Garden, the Oregon Rail Heritage FoundationZenger Farm, and many others.

     • Supporting Harper's Playground, making parks more accessible to children of all ages and abilities.

     • Celebrating the life and legacy of former City Commissioner – and Parks Director – Charles Jordan by renaming the University Park Community Center in his honor.