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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

"Those community gardens could be classrooms"

City Club hosted an October 9 discussion on improving school lunches for our children

October 12, 2009

On Friday, October 9, Nick attended City Club’s“A Conversation about Farm to school Initiatives, From the Local to the National,” with speakers Deborah Kane, Ecotrust Food & FarmsVice President, and Kristy Obbink, PPS Nutrition ServicesDirector.

The pair discussed the history of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, work underway to improve school meals in Portland Public Schools, and efforts around the state and the nation to “teach children where their food comes from and create opportunities for local farmers to provide their harvest to schools.”

Following their presentation, Nick asked how comunity gardens could bolster this effort. “Our vision for the children who are growing food products and then eating them in the cafeteris needn’t be exclusive to school grounds,” Deborah answered. “Why are we not having field trips out to the community gardens that exist all over Portland? Who are those master gardeners who are volunteers in gardens at the community level not integrated back into the schools and coming in and teaching kids about what’s going on in the garden?”

"We really need to be much more expansive about what we consider to be the classroom," she said. "Those community gardens could be classrooms, they could be vital partners, it could all be so beautifully, wholly integrated."  

She concluded, "Let’s make that happen, Commissioner Fish." We agree.

Click hereto listen to the discussion.

Thanks to flickr user neighborhood notes pdx for this photo of the Woodlawn Community Garden.

PDX Jazz survives - and flourishes

PDX Jazz announces a new executive director today

October 13, 2009

PDX Jazz, presenter of the Portland Jazz Festival, will announce today that it has brought on a new executive director - an announcement it almost didn't survive to make. Last year, after Qwest pulled out as title sponsor, the Festival almost folded. Nick joined with community leaders to help save the event and to put on a great lineup of acts across Portland.

As Don Lucoff moves into the executive director role, Bill Royston will transition to the role of artistic director for the organization. Lucoff's public relations firm has worked with jazz artists across the country, and Lucoff has experience with a variety of jazz festivals, national and international.

Lucoff has big plans for the Jazz Festival in 2010 and beyond: "If we can make this truly a citywide festival and reach a broader demographic," he told Ryan White in this morning's Oregonian, "we will be able to grow the festival for generations to come."


VASH Vouchers serve Portland vets

Anna Griffin in the October 14 Oregonian

 October 14, 2009

For the nearly 2,000 homeless veterans in the Portland area, a VASH Voucher offers a path to housing, services, and a better life. Nick is working with local housing advocates to improve the VASH Voucher program in our community. Thanks to the VA for their responsiveness in partnering with Nick and our housing community to address this challenge.

See Anna Griffin's column in this morning's Oregonian for more on the VASH program in Portland.

No-Wake Zone Reached for Ross Island Restoration

October 14, 2009

The Oregon State Marine Board voted Tuesday to create a no-wake zone for Ross Island Lagoon, writes Mark Larabee in today's Oregonian.

The Marine Board also voted to create a task force to explore options for a no-wake zone along the Holgate Channel. Staff was directed to facilitate the task force and bring a proposal back to the Marine Board at its next meeting, scheduled for January 2010.

The goal is to have a plan for Holgate Channel by the end of winter, with implementation beginning in May 2010 - in time for next year's boating season.

"I am pleased that the Marine Board has taken action to protect the Ross Island Lagoon," said Nick Fish, Commissioner-in-Charge of Parks. "The lagoon provides a safe place for Portlanders to experience this unique wetland habitat in the heart of our urban landscape."

An earlier proposal to create a no-wake zone for the lagoon and Holgate Channel failed by a 3-2 Marine Board vote in July. After the vote, Commissioner Fish conferred with stakeholders, elected officials, and Marine Board officials to explore options for putting the issue back on the table.

The City Council unanimously endorsed a proposal for a no-wake zone for Ross Island lagoon and Holgate Channel in March of this year. Co-petitioners of the original proposal include Willamette RiverkeeperUrban Greenspaces Institute, and the Audubon Society of Portland.

Later, the City supported the Marine Board's staff report, which recommended that the southern half of Holgate Channel become a no-wake zone (a no-wake zone requires motorized boats to travel at a speed no greater than 5 miles per hour, with an exemption for commercial craft).

On the compromise reached by the Marine Board yesterday, Fish stated that "we are making progress in restoring Ross Island's natural habitat."

Thanks to Mike Houck for the aerial shot of Ross Island.

Council passes resolution supporting the DREAM Act

Portland City Council this morning enthusiastically passes a resolution in support of the federal-level DREAM Act

October 14, 2009

PSU President Wim Weivel, "Papers" Youth Crew  leader Vanessa Dominguez, and "Papers" Producer Rebecca Shine address Council

Wednesday morning, Portland City Council voted to pass a resolution introduced by Commissioner Fish, along with Commissioner Fritz and Mayor Adams, in support of national DREAM Act legislation.

PSU President Wim Weivel spoke in support of the Resolution. Also testifying was Rebecca Shine, Producer of the recently-released documentary "Papers," which explores the plight of undocumented young people in America unable to continue their education after high school.

The DREAM Act, a bipartisan effort 10 years in the making, addresses the 2 million young people currently living in the United States without legal status who are unable to attend college or find jobs. The Act provides students a path to citizenship conditioned on ademic success or a commitment to serve in our armed forces. 

Portland-area students will have the opportunity to graduate from high school with the knowledge that they will be welcomed by our institutions of higher learning and given full opportunity to reach their highest potential.