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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

Keeping our river clean and safe

September 12, 2013

With these 90 degree days you may have already forgotten about the downpour of rain we experienced last Thursday.

But the first big rainfall of the season caused stormwater to flow down the streets and even caused some trees to come down on Forest Park’s Lower Macleay trail. Sometimes this kind of storm causes an overflow of the City’s sewer pipes and allows sewage to enter our Willamette River.

We’re happy to report that thanks to “green” investments in our infrastructure, we had no overflow!

In the past, combined sewer overflows happened nearly 50 times a year, but now with the completion of the “Big Pipe,” disconnecting downspouts, and building green street facilities to manage rain naturally, our city is better equipped to deal with the abundance of rain we get each year. Because of Portland’s investment in fixing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) with upgrades to our sewer infrastructure, the Willamette River and Columbia Slough are cleaner and safer for people and fish.

To learn more about the big pipe and other ways we manage CSOs, visit the Bureau of Environmental Services website.

Help build Gateway Green

The Friends of Gateway Green have launched a fundraising campaign to finish design plans to build Gateway Green.

September 13, 2013

The Friends of Gateway Green have launched a fundraising campaign to finish design plans to build Gateway Green.

The 38 acres between I-84 and I-205 in East Portland have sat unused for the last eight years. With strong grassroots support and local, regional, and state government input, the project is starting to make headway.

Friends of Gateway Green will leverage public, private, and philanthropic funds to fully develop and construct the area. After its completion, Portland Parks & Recreation will operate the park.

Help the project out by spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. Making people aware of the project is the key to making Gateway Green become a reality.

Learn more about Gateway Green by visiting their website.

Gateway Green shows power of partnerships

Nick Fish in the Portland Tribune

Friday Roundup

News from and about Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish

What City Commissioners Really Think of City Hall Security Cuts

Denis C. Theriault in The Portland Mercury


Right 2 Dream Too seeks new home

Julie Sabatier on


Nick Fish: City Should Cover Debit Card Convenience Fees on Arts Tax

Aaron Mesh in Willamette Week


Jeff Cogen's successor, Marissa Madrigal, seen as bright capable manager

Dana Tims in The Oregonian


Five Portland theaters rebranded with new name, website

April Baer in The Columbian


Vote on Portland arts tax still needed

The Oregonian Editorial Board

A History of the Bull Run Watershed

For 118 years, Portlanders have enjoyed Bull Run water. Read a short history lesson on the many protections keeping it safe and clean.

September 16, 2013

118 years ago, Portlanders enjoyed the first taste of drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed.

On January 2, 1895, water from the Bull Run flowed 25 miles into Portland – providing up to 25 million gallons per day. Fast forward to 2013, and our pipes can now provide up to 212 million gallons per day!

Portland is lucky to have some of the very best drinking water in the world. And thanks to the visionary Portlanders before us, we will enjoy that water for years to come.

The Portland City Council, which is the steward of the Bull Run Watershed and our water system, has long been committed to ensuring our community’s ownership of the system, keeping the watershed protected from logging and other development, and using the Bull Run and our wellfield as our only sources of water.

There are a number of federal and local laws protecting our system. While some protections go back as far as 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison declared the watershed a national forest reserve, many of our protections were enacted in the last 25 years.

Pour yourself a glass of cold Bull Run water, and enjoy a short history lesson:

1992: Resolution 35024

Resolution 35024 revised the Land Management Plans for the Bull Run, and speaks specifically to ceasing and prohibiting "commercial logging and related forest management activities" within Bull Run.

1992: Ordinance 166098

This Ordinance identified our water rights for Bull Run. This action was required by the State of Oregon; the State required all those who claimed to have surface water rights dating before 1909 to register claims for those rights by the end of 1992 (Portland was granted rights in 1909 for the Bull Run and Little Sandy).

1993: Resolution 35203

Resolution 35203 requested federal legislation to end timber harvesting in the Bull Run and Little Sandy watersheds. Congress later passed the Oregon Resources Conservation Act in 1996, strictly limiting timber harvest in Bull Run.

1995: Resolution 35477

Resolution 35477 provided comments on the Preliminary Regional Water Supply Plan. The City provided major recommendations for the Plan, including:

  • A note that the City is "committed to maintaining the Bull Run as its sole source of potable drinking water" with exception for instances where supplementing from the Columbia Southshore Wellfields is necessary.
  • Other notes about prioritizing sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
  • The comments were incorporated into the plan – read more about that in the Ordinance below.

1996: Ordinance 170721

This Ordinance authorized the Portland Water Bureau to join the Regional Water Providers Consortium as a member, and to endorse the Regional Water Supply Plan of 1996.

Section 7(E) confirms Portland’s recommendation: "proposal of no actions which would be in conflict with Portland’s expressed intention that Portland retail customers’ sole source of potable drinking water is the Bull Run."

2010: Ordinance 183540

The most recent Ordinance amends City Code Chapter 21.36 – Bull Run Watershed Protection. The Code speaks directly to "ownership of Bull Run land and infrastructure," and the idea of privatization:

"City land and infrastructure…that is integral to the delivery of municipal water shall not be transferred to any private entity…[it] shall not be transferred to any public entity unless the transfer is approved by ordinance approved by City Council."

Public Street or Private Lot?

Tomorrow I will introduce an Ordinance to change the Portland City Code that manages private pay-to-park and non-pay parking facilities.

September 17, 2013

Tomorrow I will introduce an Ordinance to change the Portland City Code that manages private pay-to-park and non-pay parking facilities.

There are over 150 private parking lots in the city, but there are two that may catch you off guard. Thanks to KATU’s investigative reporting, constituent complaints, and my own personal experience, we learned that people were getting tickets because they were parking on what looked like public streets – but were in fact private parking areas.

The Code change explicitly allows the City to require that private parking lot owners offer better signage so motorists are not caught off-guard.  The Code also adds new reporting requirements which will monitor ticketing practices and how complaints are handled.

These changes will better protect consumers who were accidentally parking illegally. Nobody likes to get a parking ticket (me included!) – so we want to make sure that the rules are clear and fairly applied across the city.

Special thanks to KATU’s team for highlighting this story.

Public or private? City looks to help drivers avoid parking tickets

Bob Heye on


City seeks more formal oversight of private parking lots

Brad Schmidt in The Oregonian