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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589

Email: nick@portlandoregon.gov

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

Cutting the ribbon at Pardee Commons

Nick was on hand this morning to cut the ribbon at Pardee Commons, an incredible new housing development in East Portland.

September 21, 2009

Friday morning marked the official launch of the Pardee Commons housing development in East Portland, and Nick was proud to join representatives from PDC, the Albina Community Bank, Earth Advantage, Proud Ground, the Oregon Department of Energy, and Cityhouse Builders, LLC, to celebrate. The principals of Cityhouse Builders, LLC, are Tom Walsh and Serena Cruz Walsh, champions of high-quality sustainable and affordable housing across Portland.

In the works since 2005, Pardee Commons includes homes for 10 families. The City's investment in these homes will benefit generations of Portland homeowners.

The high-quality homes are an asset to the Lents neighborhood, and have been greeted with enthusiasm by community members.

They are also green and sustainable, incorporating an important aspect of the City's development criteria and ensuring that sustainability is accessible to all Portlanders.

See more pictures in our Photo Gallery!

See Portland on the 4T Trail

Nick Fish helps inagurate the new Four T Trail Loop (Trail, Tram, Trolley, Train)

September 21, 2009

On Saturday, Nick joined two dozen outdoor enthusiasts to launch the 4T Trail (Trail, Tram, Trolley, and Train). The route links up Portland's diverse modes of public transportation with a hike through Council Crest and the Southwest Hills. The entire loop can be completed in under three hours, but detours through downtown or the Oregon Zoo are easy to plan.

SW Trails Chair and 4T Project Manager Don Baack developed the idea two years with his son Eric, as a way to package trails and transport for guide books.

As the Oregonian notes, "The loop's cheap. The trail is free, and so is the tram ride from OHSU to the waterfront. A two-hour TriMet pass for the trolley and train portions of the route is $2, an all-day pass $4.75." Read the full article from the Oregonian here.

Abby Metty/The Oregonian

New sidewalk rules take shape

Mark Larabee reports on ongoing talks to reform rules governing the use of Portland's sidewalks.

September 21, 2009

Commissioner Fish has been working closely with Mayor Adams throughout the summer to craft an updated set of rules to govern the use of Portland's sidewalks. The two recently met with downtown business owners to gather input and hear feedback, and have held meetings with advocate groups and community stakeholders.

The plan Commissioner Fish has brought forward would create sidewalk zones, one of which would be solely reserved for walking. The plan, supported by city attorneys, would complement current laws regulating sandwich-board signs and outdoor cafe seating.

Mayor Adams and Commissioner Fish are working to ensure that the new law is constitutionally sound and that it continues to offer police a way to deal with aggressive panhandlers.

The Mayor hopes to have a plan before Council in coming weeks, resolving a longstanding controversy in downtown Portland.

Thanks to TriMet's Flickr account for this photo.

Best Wishes to Carmen Rubio in her new endeavors

Carmen Caballero Rubio leaving Fish Team to head Latino Network

September 23, 2009

Carmen Caballero Rubio, Senior Policy Advisor and all-star on the the Fish Team, is moving on to greater heights. In mid-October Carmen will take over as Executive Director at the Latino Network, a Portland nonprofit working to promote educational achievement, support leadership and community development among Latinos.

“Carmen’s departure is a big loss to my office and to City Hall, where she has served with distinction for nearly five years,” says Commissioner Fish. “However, her dynamic leadership is a perfect fit for the Latino Network.”

Thank you for your amazing service, we all wish you the best of luck.

Affordable housing tax breaks in jeopardy

Mark Larabee reports on questions around the City's affordable housing tax abatements in the September 24 Oregonian

September 24, 2009

Bringing affordable housing projects to downtown areas is no easy feat. As Nick told Mark Larabee early this week, "if the market allowed us to build affordable housing, we'd rely on the market, but it doesn't pencil out." Without making the prospect more attractive to developers, affordable units would rarely find their way into downtown housing projects.

In Portland, the one such incentive is the offer of 10-year property tax breaks for qualifying developments. The incentive, known as a tax abatement, has paved the way for numerous affordable units in downtown that would not otherwise exist.

Recently, though, the abatement program has come under fire from County officials. County Assessor Randy Walruff has notified developers that the abatement they receive for commercial space in qualifying buildings will discontinue. For some, losing this abatement could cost as much as $140,328 per year.

Nick has suggested a compromise which would grandfather in projects already qualified for the abatement but put a moratorium on granting new abatements until the program can be explored further. He has also committed to working with County Chair Wheeler to look for a legislative solution.

Now, perhaps more than ever, supporting our affordable housing efforts through tools like the abatement is critically important. Says Nick, the true cost of discontinuing the program "may very well be our entire system for building affordable housing."