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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

From Brownfield to zen

February 25, 2014

Nick was pleased to volunteer at the Dharma Rain Zen Center in Northeast Portland on Saturday, helping to plant trees and shrubs as part of the Friends of Trees volunteer series.  

Dharma Rain, with the assistance of BES’ Brownfield Program, purchased a former landfill site with the intention to restore it.  On Saturday, volunteers from the Dharma Zen Rain Center, Friends of Trees, the Backyard Habitat Certification Program, Madison High School and the greater Portland community transformed the former landfill by planting over 1,200 native trees and shrubs in one day! 

BES, along with Friends of Trees and other Portland non-profits and community groups, partner up for green restoration days in our local neighborhoods.  A total of 4,000 trees and shrubs will be planted in Portland neighborhoods by the end of the “green spaces” season. 

There are 18 events left with Friends of Trees. Make our city a little greener and check out the Friends for Trees calendar to register for future events! No special skills are necessary and all tools (and lunch!) are provided.  The next one is Saturday, March 1, and the volunteer series goes until May 17.  

Photo courtesy of Dharma Rain Zen Center.

Minimize your lead exposure!

February 26, 2014

Older plumbing features and using lead solder in pipes can lead to higher levels of lead in our tap water.    

There are significant health risks by consuming too much lead.  It can damage organs, deteriorate bones, and have negative effects on fetuses.  It can also lower children’s IQs. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10-20 percent of a person’s lead exposure may come from drinking tap water.

The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) recommends the following steps to reduce your exposure to lead:

  1. Let the water run in your faucet for at least 30 seconds.  Water that sits in the faucet can collect lead from pipes.
  2. Use fresh, cold water to cook and prepare food – don’t cook with hot water from the tap. 
  3. Boiling water does not reduce lead level.
  4. Consider using a filter that reduces lead.
  5. Have your child’s blood lead level tested.
  6. Test your water for lead.  Call the LeadLine at (503) 988-4000 for a free testing kit. 
  7. Regularly clean your faucet aerator to reduce lead. Lead from soil or household plumbing can get trapped in the aerator. 
  8. Consider purchasing low-lead fixtures. 

To get more information about having your water tested for lead or reducing your exposure, contact LeadLine at (503) 988-4000 or visit their website

The Mt. Tabor park tree update

February 26, 2014

Over the last week, I’ve heard from a number of people concerned about a future Portland Water Bureau project in Mt. Tabor Park, and its potential effects on the trees and landscape of the park.

Here’s some basic information.

As part of a federal water quality mandate, the Water Bureau is required to disconnect the park’s open reservoirs from the water distribution system by the end of 2015. But not to worry – we’ll still be able to fill the reservoirs with water in the future.

The bureau must go through a Land Use Review before they start any work. There are two possible review paths – Type II and Type III. Based on community feedback, I have directed the bureau to submit a Type III application, which includes a public hearing before the application is approved.

Water Bureau planners and engineers worked closely with Portland Parks & Recreation to develop the current tree mitigation proposal (including planting 1,200 new trees), and I appreciate the hard work they have done to date.

That said, I share community members’ concerns regarding the potential impact on trees in the park. Accordingly, I have directed Water Bureau staff to work with the Urban Forester at Portland Parks & Recreation to take a fresh look at this project and its potential impact to Mt. Tabor’s trees.

As part of this fresh look, Water and Parks staff will review the project’s potential impacts and the current mitigation proposal, and will identify any opportunities to further reduce the effects on trees in the park.

Here’s some additional information about the current proposed project and Mt. Tabor’s trees: 

  • The bureau will cut and plug existing pipes, lay approximately 850 feet of new large-diameter pipe, and make new connections between some existing pipes.
  • Under the current proposal, up to 25 trees may be removed during the construction process. There are 6 additional trees which are close to the work, and may be affected – but the Water Bureau will do all it can to keep those 6 trees healthy and in place. Our City Forester is confident that the proposed work would not damage other tree root systems in the park.
  • With guidance from Parks, the Water Bureau will plant 1,200 new trees in Mt. Tabor Park and in locations across the community. According to Parks staff, there is not enough room in Mt. Tabor Park to plant all of the new trees, as they would grow to block views and crowd open areas in the park. The Water Bureau will plant 65 new native trees at Mt. Tabor, focusing on areas that need reforestation. Water and Parks staff will work together to find the best locations in the community to plant the rest of the new trees.

Friday Roundup

Leaders will fine-tune storm, disaster response

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune, February 27, 2014

Fox News host Sean Hannity asks 'American Winter' filmmakers why struggling Portland families can't move to North Dakota

Molly Young in The Oregonian, February 27, 2014

Nick Fish Talks About Checks on Capitalism; Sean Hannity is Enraged

Denis C. Theriault in the Portland Mercury, February 27, 2014

Regional Providers Provide Important Information on Reducing Lead in Drinking Water

Time Hall from the Portland Water Bureau, February 25, 2014

PWB: High lead levels in Portland water

Koin 6 News Staff, February 25, 2014

Elevated lead levels in some Portland area drinking water: 8 ways to reduce exposure

Katy Muldoom in The Oregonian, February 25, 2014

Commissioner Fish Support Letter: HB 4143A
February 24, 2014

Portland2014's Binennial of Contemporary Art

March 3, 2014

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center presents Portland2014’s Biennial of Contemporary Art.  Art is brought to a whole other level with the 15 eclectic contemporary artists and 11 events.

Portland2014’s diverse art exhibitions come from an array of talented artists, including Portland’s Zachary Davis, whose mixed media art incorporates magnets, PVC, glass, and even YouTube videos. Personal Libraries Library recreates libraries from some of history’s greatest minds, and Professor Christopher Michlig takes on the manipulation of communication with vivid neon colors and shapes. 

The exhibitions are located in four Portland venues: Disjecta, Upfor Gallery, White Box, University of Oregon, Portland, and The Best Art Gallery in Portland.

Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art goes from March 8 to April 27.  All Portland2014 venues are free and open to the public, from 12 - 6 pm, Tuesday - Saturday.

An opening reception will be held at Disjecta on Saturday, March 8, from 6 - 10 pm.

Please check Biennial Disjecta’s website for more information. 

Photo courtesy of Disjecta Contemporary