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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

Urban League reports that Black Oregonians still face significant barriers to homeownership

The Urban League of Portland's recent Report shows little progress for black Oregonians over the last two decades.

August 3, 2009

The Urban League of Portland's troubling assessment of "The State of Black Oregon" prompts Marcus Mundy, the League's president, to caution that "we are on the precipice of turning back many gains of the civil rights movement in a real way."

Since 1979, unemployment among African-Americans in Portland has been worse than in the nation as a whole and any other West Coast city; the median income of African-American households in Portland is less than two-thirds that of white households.

Particularly concerning are the statistics around African-American homeownership in the Portland area. "Although much of our housing and economic policy encourages and rewards homeownership, non-Whites still face significant barriers to enjoying its benefits," the report asserts, noting that high-cost loans, at the center of the current housing crisis, are disproportionately held by African-Americans.

To close the homeownership gap and address this inequity, the report calls on "state and community leaders [to] support...creative responses that work outside traditional routes to homeownership and wealth accumulation." These nontraditional avenues include Habitat for HumanityCommunity Land Trusts, and Individual Development Accounts, offered by several groups in Portland.

As housing Commissioner, Nick is committed to reducing barriers to homeownership for all Portlanders. The new Portland Housing Bureau is charged with administering the Operation H.O.M.E. program, the City's effort to coordinate support for low-income homeownership. Operation H.O.M.E. focuses on closing the minority homeownership gap in Portland - a 2004 report showed that only 34% of African-Americans in Portland owned their home. The City's goal is to close this gap by 2015 - a goal made more urgent by the Urban League's findings.

Council votes to continue fight against EPA-mandated treatment of Bull Run water

Commissioner Nick Fish and the Portland City Council voted to fight the EPA's LT2 mandate and seek a variance - barring that, the City will adopt UV technology to treat the water for cryptosporidium bacteria.

Commissioner Nick Fish and the Portland City Council voted to fight EPA-mandated treatment of the Bull Run watershed

July 30, 2009

As reported by Mark Larabee in the Oregonian, the Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to continue its fight against EPA-mandated treatment of the Bull Run watershed.

"The federal government insists that we solve a problem that doesn't exist and further insists that we pay for this folly," Commissioner Fish remarked during his vote following hours of testimony on the issue.

The City will continue to seek a variance exempting Portland from the EPA's blanket mandate, which directs the City to treat Bull Run water for cryptosporidium, a bacteria which hasn't been detected in the watershed for years.

Said Commissioner Fish, "we need to fight this misguided mandate in every venue."

If this effort proves unsuccessful, the Council has opted to treat the water with UV technology, a cheaper and less intrusive option than direct filtration, the other candidate.

From forest to faucet, the Portland Water Bureau delivers the best drinking water in the world - Council's action yesterday ensures that the City will fight to keep it that way.

Read the Commissioner's full statement in our 'News' section.

Thanks to Flickr user Sam Beebe/Ecotrust for this shot of the Bull Run reservoir

Portland ranks number two in volunteerism nationwide

Barack Obama's service initiative has ranked Portland number two in volunteerism nationwide

July 30, 2009

The Portland metro area (Portland, Beaverton, and Vancouver) has been named #2 in the nation in percent of residents volunteering. Additionally, at 47 hours per resident, Portland ranks 4th in the nation in time given. All told, the value of Portland-area residents' volunteering totaled $1.6 billion dollars during the 12-month period between 2007 and 2008 studied.

Despite decreased incomes and increasingly scarce financial resources, folks across America are giving their time more than ever before. Young people in particular are coming out in droves - almost half a million young adults who had not volunteered in 2007 gave their time in 2008.

When ordinary citizens in our community and around the country are struggling to make ends meet and secure their basic needs, the plight of our most vulnerable residents has become even more acute.As non-profit service providers have seen sharp drops in financial donations, volunteers have become more important than ever.

We encourage to give your time however you're able. There are many opportunities to volunteer with the Parks and Housing bureaus, and we'd also like to draw your attention to Hands On Greater Portland, a local organization connecting Portlanders with time to give with volunteer opportunities in our area - these opportunities range from building homes to tutoring to serving on non-profit boards to removing invasive species from natural areas.

$1.45 million arts, humanities, and heritage across Oregon

The Oregon Cultural Trust, on whose Board Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish sits, recently announced $1.45 million in grants to state cultural organizations.

July 28, 2009

Oregon Ballet Theater

Commissioner Fish is honored to sit on the board of the Oregon Cultural Trust, which since 1999 has awarded millions of dollars in grants to support arts, humanities, and heritage statewide.

In spite of the economic hardship facing Oregonians, the Trust announced $1.45 million in grants, funding 48 projects around the state, this Monday. Chairman Norm Smith, recognizing that "the past 10 months have presented extraordinary challenges," affirmed that the Trust continues to work "the way it was intended - providing cultural funding in good times and bad."

This year's projects include historic building preservation in CorvallisStayton, and Astoria; Asian dance programming at Portland's White Bird dance company; exhibitions at The Museum at Warm Springs; and performing arts projects through Portland Opera and the Third Rail Repertory CompanyOPB and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival each received $35,000 in grants, the largest amount awarded this year.

Many thanks to Flickr user Alicia J. Rose for the beautiful photo!

Major League Soccer Moves Forward

Nick Fish's Statements on MLS

 July 24, 2009

On Thursday, Portland City Council voted 4-1 to remodel PGE Park, setting the stage for Major League Soccer to come to Portland. In voting to approve the measure, Nick acknowledged that significant changes had been made to protect taxpayers while requiring significant private funds, adding:

"Oregon is home to Adidas and Nike.The University of Portland women’s soccer team regularly wins national championships. Youth soccer is on the rise; this weekend, the Westside Metros are playing for a national championship. It is time for MLS in soccer city, USA."

Read Nick's complete comments here.