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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

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An Urban Grange

Our friends at Zenger Farm were featured in both this week’s Portland Business Journal and the June 2013 issue of Portland Monthly.

May 28, 2013

Our friends at Zenger Farm were featured in both this week’s Portland Business Journal and the June 2013 issue of Portland Monthly.

Situated on six-acres of land in Southeast Portland, Zenger Farm is one of the largest farms within the city limits. In its fourteenth year, the farm is active and growing everyday.

In the Portland Monthly article, “Farm to Future,” Randy Gragg highlights how the farm has “more than 6,000 school-children from across the metro region visit every year. One thousand families take part in the farm’s ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’ workshops. Each Sunday, 900 shoppers routinely visit the Lents International Farmer’s Market, which the farm has been operating in the neighborhood since 2006.” The property also includes a 10-acre wetland that's part of the Johnson Creek Watershed and offers a great setting to teach kids about sustainable farming practices and urban ecosystems.

Zenger Farm was Portland’s first community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. CSAs are an alternative way to get fresh and local produce instead of going to the grocery store. With CSAs, community members can buy a membership at the start of the growing season so they can take home a portion of the farm’s harvest. In the past, CSAs were thought of as only benefitting higher-income families with a disposable income – but Zenger Farm reconstructed payment plans so their CSA would be able to accept food stamps.

With all its success, the Zenger Farm’s facility now needs to grow.

Zenger Farm has launched a campaign to expand their facilities into an “Urban Grange.” The Urban Grange will feature 8,960 square feet of classrooms, food processing facilities, a commercial kitchen, offices, and community meeting areas. As Zenger Executive Director Jill Kuehler explains, “the Urban Grange will allow us to double our programs.” They hope to break ground next spring on the $1.9 million project.

We are proud to partner with Zenger Farm to support the local food movement, and make it possible for every Portlander to have access to fresh food!

Nonprofit Zenger Farm to double program capacity with new grange

Kelly House in The Oregonian


Zenger Farm seeks $1.9M fund raise for 'Urban Grange'

Andy Giegerich in the Portland Business Journal

photo courtesy of Portland Business Journal

Council welcomes Grant High School Constitution Team

This morning, City Council was pleased to welcome the Grant High School Constitution Team, winners of the 2013 National We the People competition in Washington, D.C.!

May 29, 2013

This morning, City Council was pleased to welcome the Grant High School Constitution Team, winners of the 2013 National We the People competition in Washington, D.C.!

Nick was honored to read a Proclamation to celebrate their national victory.

The We the People competition, designed to simulate congressional hearings, teaches students about the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.

This is the second year in a row that an Oregon team brought home the championship.  In 2012, Lincoln High School won the national competition.

Grant High Principal Vivien Orlen, Head Coach Tim Volpert, and Classroom Law Project Program Director Barbara Rost praised the Grant students, and a few students shared their experience in D.C.  Team member Claire Eldredge-Burns even described a last-minute lesson while sitting in the National Archives!

Congratulations to the Generals for their outstanding work!

Grant High School Constitution Team Proclamation


Grant Constitution Team finishes first in nation; second year in a row Oregon team wins

Larry Bingham in The Oregonian


Champion Grant High Constitution Team: "We Care About Everyone"

Matt Kauffman in Willamette Week

City Council approves FY 2013-14 budget

This morning, City Council approved the budget for FY 2013-14.

May 29, 2013

This morning, City Council approved the budget for FY 2013-14.
This has been the most challenging budget during my five years of service on the Council. With a $21.5 million shortfall, we worked hard to preserve the programs and services that Portlanders value.
Unfortunately, a number of hardworking City employees face layoffs in the coming year. However, we limited the number of layoffs by cutting vacant positions, and we provided “bridge” funding to preserve workforce diversity gains in bureaus.
While some City services will look and feel different, by focusing on the basics we now have a stronger foundation to build on.
I was proud to work with Mayor Hales and my Council colleagues to identify millions of dollars in cost savings, minimize utility rate increases, and save beloved community programs.
With the advent of the new independent City Budget Office, our public process was more open and transparent. The City was well-served by public and labor representatives on our Budget Advisory Committees.  Hundreds of citizens got engaged and shared their stories at budget hearings across the city.
Thanks to everyone who wrote, called, and testified on this year’s budget. Your voices made a difference.
Here are some of the highlights:
  • We fully funded the Safety Net, which provides essential housing and services for our community’s most vulnerable families and individuals.
  • We invested in strong neighborhoods and small businesses, from the East Portland Action Plan and new Housing Inspectors, to Venture Portland, Main Street programs, and the Village Market at New Columbia. And, for the first time in years, we protected Portland Parks & Recreation from potentially devastating cuts that would have put our much-loved parks, trails, and natural areas at further risk.
  • We funded vital programs for children and seniors.  PP&R’s Teen Program and our Summer Lunch Program for hungry children have been restored with ongoing funds. The Multnomah Youth Commission has found a new home with support staff in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. And, we worked with the County to restore funds for SUN Schools and Senior Recreation programs. 
  • We preserved important Public Safety services. We protected funding for officers on the street and preserved units focused on gang enforcement, family services, and school security. And, thanks to some creative thinking, Portland Fire & Rescue won’t close any fire stations.
It is an honor to serve on the City Council, and to work with our dedicated City employees and community partners.
Steve Law in the Portland Tribune

Lending a Hand

We’d like to highlight a wonderful mission-driven nonprofit focused on providing services to Portland’s neighboring rural communities.

May 30, 2013

We’d like to highlight a wonderful mission-driven nonprofit focused on providing services to Portland’s neighboring rural communities.

The Community Action Team (CAT) calls St. Helens home, but serves neighbors in Columbia, Clatsop, and Tillamook counties. Their main focus is to mobilize resources and address the needs of the economically disadvantaged. They work to reduce the extent and negative effects of poverty by increasing family self-reliance.

Learn more about CAT and support their work at their “Lend-a-Hand Benefit Show and Silent Auction” this Friday in downtown Portland.

The event will feature Portland Bands, Hot Lips pizza, Deschutes Brewery beer, and a silent auction with artsy and practical pieces. All proceeds from the event are earmarked for making home repairs for low-income older adults, veterans, and people with disabilities living in rural Oregon.

CAT began the Lend-a-Hand program this year. The program provides safety and mobility home repairs at no cost to vulnerable community members. All proceeds from this year’s event will go toward materials and labor needed to make these repairs happen. All repairs will take place during a community-driven event, the Lend-a-Hand Weekend, on July 13.

Come out and show your support for CAT!

Lend-a-Hand Benefit and Show

Friday, May 31, 7 pm

The Old Church
SW 11th and Clay

Free to attend ($10 suggested donation)

55 new VASH vouchers will help Portland veterans

The VA and HUD announced this week that the Portland region will be awarded 155 new VASH vouchers to support veterans in need

May 30, 2013

Yesterday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that 135 new VASH vouchers are headed to our region, including 55 to Home Forward, the housing authority serving the Portland area.

VASH - Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing - vouchers combine rent assistance with case management and clinical services designed to help veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness get back on their feet and into a stable home. Together, the VA and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administer the program. Since 2008, the vouchers have been awarded annually based on need and the performance of the local partners distributing them.

It takes a big community of partners to successfully get VASH vouchers out the door and into the hands of veterans, and to help those veterans find homes with them. Last year, staff at the Portland Housing Bureau saw that there were bottlenecks in our system, and that vouchers weren't being put into use as efficiently as possible. Because of that, our community was leaving federal subsidies on the table, and veterans in need weren't being effectively served. PHB staff convened local partners - Home Forward, the Portland VA, and non-profits - identified the bottlenecks and barriers, and addressed them one by one.

In addition, the City was proud to join Multnomah County, the United Way, and Home Forward in committing $10,000 in flexible funds to the program. That funding, $40,000 in all, supported everything from bus tickets to view apartments to security deposits and other move-in costs. Today, 305 veterans in our community are in a safe and stable home thanks to the team that rallied around the effort, "Operation 305".

In a visit to Portland earlier this year, VA Assistant Secretary Joan Mooney acknowledged the complexity of the VASH program and said that she's never seen a community come together like Portland.

This new award of vouchers is a testament to the team's success and great news for local veterans.

HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs boost number of rent subsidy vouchers for veterans

Mike Francis in The Oregonian


City rallies to help homeless veterans

Robert Britt in Street Roots