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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

Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer shares 8 lessons learned

Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer addressed the Portland City Club today, sharing 8 lessons he's learned

December 17, 2010

Today, Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer spoke with a City Club audience about how fostering economic opportunity for young adults in places like Haiti, Colombia, and Gaza can help to heal broken communities.

He also talked about Mercy Corps' new program in Yemen, which helps kids reduce their vulnerability to the negative influence of violence groups, and about providing economic opportunities for low-income earners right here in Portland.

He shared 8 lessons he's learned during his 16 years as CEO of Mercy Corps (read the text of his speech here):

  • Focus on the bottom 1 billion people in the developing world
  • View crisis as opportunity
  • Put people first
  • Focus on youth; half the world is younger than 25
  • Find and support the heroes, the bright lights - especially among youth
  • Catalyze partnerships between and among civil society, the private sector, and government
  • Promote social innovation
  • Leverage the humanitarian bridge to support peaceful change and human rights

Mercy Corps works to help people worldwide build secure, productive, and just communities.

Many thanks to Mercy Corps and photographer Edy Purnomo for letting us use this great photo of Neal Keny-Guyer in Jakarta

'The Best of Times'

Zach Dundas in the January 2011 Portland Monthly

December 27, 2010

We hope you saw Zach Dundas' great article, "The Best of Times," in the January 2011 issue of Portland Monthly.

"Lately," he writes, "Nick Fish has been pitching the hardest of hard sells: optimism."

Despite a host of bad indicators - unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, hunger - there's plenty to indicate that "Portland's underlying strengths could soon pay off big time."

Among Dundas' examples:

  • Over the last decade, we've decreased our per capita emissions by 20%
  • Our downtown office vacancy rate is half that of suburban areas around Portland
  • Air travel at PDX - ranked the #1 domestic airport this year - is up
  • 2009 saw a record number of business licenses issued
  • Portland is #2 nationally in export volume
  • PSU is on the rise, strengthening its partnership with OHSU, building a new LEED-certified dorm, increasing research funding, and awarding more degrees than ever before

Elsewhere, we note that TriMet outshines its peers, carrying more people than any other US transit system its size; PP&R's Community Garden Initiative will add 2000 new community garden plots by 2012; PNCA has become a nationally competitive school of art and design and recently exceeded its $32 million capital campaign goal; and we've solidified our reputation as Soccer City USA through successes at all levels of the sport.

So what's the takeaway? The possibility that "another, alternative narrative is taking shape: the story of a city on the cusp of a singularly bright future."

Meyer Memorial Trust awards Community Relief Fund $200,000, will match up to $100,000 more

The Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette $200,000 and offered another $100,000 through a matching grant

December 28, 2010

The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is an outstanding community partner, funding programs that focus on education, income, and health - the building blocks of a good life.

Through Community Investment Grants, the United Way supports local partners like Janus Youth Programs, Mercy Corps NW, JOIN, the Hollywood Senior Center, the Community Housing Resource Center, Hacienda CDC, the Native American Youth & Family Center, and Human Solutions. Through the Portland Housing Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation, we are proud to partner with many of these organizations.

Since 2009, the United Way has also operated the Community Relief Fund, which helps Portland-area families hardest hit by the recession get back on their feet by offering immediate help with food, rent, and utilities. The program has helped over 50,000 people with more than $2 million for basic needs.

Now, the Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded the Fund a $200,000 grant and the offer to match up to $100,000 donated by the public.

Since 2009, writes Larry Bingham in this morning's Oregonian, requests for assistance have increased more than 150%.

Click here for more about this important fund, or donate now.


Bicycle advocate Mia Birk's 'Joyride' is reviewed in today's Willamette Week; she will speak at Powell's January 4

December 29, 2010Mia Birk's 'Joyride'

Earlier this year, Portlander and nationally-known transportation expert Mia Birk debuted Joyride, her account of two decades spent helping make Portland the top cycling city in America. Nick was proud to attend her book release party this summer during, appropriately, a Sunday Parkways event.

In today's Willamette Week, Brett Campbell reviews her book, which "artfully mixes personal history and facts to create a candid, compelling memoir."

"Newbie Portlanders who take for granted our wonderful Eastbank Esplanade and hundreds of miles of bikeways will learn just what a struggle they took to achieve," Campbell writes, "while others can take inspiration from the story of how an idealist with persistence and flexibility can change a city literally from the ground up."

Powell's will host Mia next Tuesday, January 4, at 7:30 pm - from what we know of her, it's sure to be a lively, intelligent, and interesting conversation!