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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589

Email: nick@portlandoregon.gov

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.

Washington Park Summer Festival arrives!

Portland Commissioner Nick Fish kicked off the 2009 Washington Park Summer Concert Series, presented by Portland Parks & Recreation.

Nick and sponsor Gordon Sondland introduce the first Washington

August 4, 2009

60 years ago, Dorothea Lensch, Portland's first Recreation Director, founded the Washington Park Summer Festival. The Festival highlighted Portland's musical theater, big band, jazz, ballet, opera, and symphony, and, most importantly, ensured that the performing arts were free and accessible to all Portlanders.

60 years later, Dorothea's Festival has become a beloved Portland tradition attended by many thousands of people each summer.

The loss of its major sponsor put the Festival at risk this year. Thanks to the generosity of my friends Gordon Sondland and Katy Durant, along with donors across Portland, we are once again enjoying summer evenings with the Washington Park Summer Festival.

As Commissioner-in-Charge of Parks and a strong supporter of the arts in Portland, I am so gratified by the civic spirit our community showed in making this Festival happen once again.

Check out the Parks website for the full Festival schedule.

See more pictures in our Photo Gallery!

Hayden Island celebrates National Night Out

Portland Commissioner Nick Fish joined the National Night Out party hosted by the Hayden Island Manufactured Home Community on Tuesday, August 4.

Nick with firefighters from Station 17    Nick with Hayden Island residents Gayle and Tina

August 5, 2009

Nick joined Ed Garren, Homeowners Association President Pamela Ferguson, along with community members and firefighters from the Hayden Island Fire Station, at the Hayden Island Manufactured Home Community National Night Out event Tuesday evening.

Hayden Island is the focus of the Hayden Island Plan, a collaborative effort by the City of Portland and Island residents to improve accessibility, livability, and sustainability on the Island over the next 35 years. The Plan will create a more walkable residential community and develop new business areas around the proposed light rail station while continuing to protect and support the marine and terrestrial habitats that make Hayden Island such a unique community.

National Night Out, now in its 26th year, brings neighbors together to strengthen community-police relationships and heighten crime and drug prevention awareness. Last year nearly 40 million people participated in National Night Out events.

PDC welcomes incoming Chair Scott Andrews

Commissioner Nick Fish welcomes PDC Chair Scott Andrews, taking over from outgoing Chair Charles Wilhoite

August 6, 2009

We would like to extend our welcome to incoming PDC Chair Scott Andrews. Scott is a longtime Portland businessman and former leader of the Portland Business Alliance, writes Jim Redden in the August 6 Tribune.

We are grateful for the good work of outgoing Chair Charles Wilhoite, who will remain on the PDC Board of Commissioners.

We look forward to working with Scott on beginning construction on three planned affordable housing projects, his first priority as PDC Chair: the Pearl Family Housing project, the Block 49 project in South Waterfront, and the Resource Access Center in downtown Portland.

Nick helps kick off Census 2010

Nick speaks at the opening of Portland's Census office on NE Columbia Boulevard

August 7, 2009

Commissioner Fish joined Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, and U.S. Census officials August 4 to open our local Census office. Located at 2210 NE Columbia Boulevard, this office will serve as the hub for metro-area Census activity through 2010.

Nick co-chairs our regional Complete Count Committee with Commissioner Kafoury. The Committee is working to ensure that traditionally undercounted populations - elderly, homeless, and minority groups - are accurately represented in the Census, and to solve local barriers to participation in the Census.

At stake is over $400 billion each year in federal funds to support our roads, our parks, our schools, and programs and services for our most vulnerable citizens.

By working toward the most accurate count possible, the Complete Count Committee will help ensure that we receive our fair share of the federal pie.