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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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Despite economic challenges, Oregonians continue to support the arts

March 1, 2010

Two recent articles in the Oregonian highlight the state of Oregon's arts and culture community.

On Sunday, critic D.K. Row published "Persuasion in the arts equation," an examination of the economic climate and how it has affected corporate giving to arts organizations in the Portland area.

The recession, Row writes, has led to a decline in overall giving; Portland is host to few large companies and the ones we have are seeing decreased revenues. So while "Portland's modest corporate for supporting the arts...are similar to most American cities," the total amount they give is smaller. But Row also notes that Portland's many small and mid-sized businesses are likely to give in other ways, such as in-kind donations, which aren't captured by many statistics.

And the Oregon Cultural Trust remains a shining example of Oregonians' commitment to the arts, as reported by the Oregonian editorial board Sunday, February 28. The Trust offers Oregon taxpayers a tax credit for the full amount of their donation, and since its foundation in 2001, the Trust has seen donations increase every year except 2008. In 2009, the Trust reported a 10% increase - nearly one-quarter of those gifts were from first-time donors.

The Trust has so far distributed $8 million to Oregon arts and culture organizations, supporting groups like the Library Foundation of Newberg Oregon, Ballet Rogue in Medford, and the Pendleton Round-Up.

Continuing to support arts and culture organizations across Oregon, the editorial board writes, our giving "expands what it means to participate in the arts."

Lend your voice to the City budget process

March 2, 2010

Join Nick at the March 3 Community Budget Forum to share your priorities for the upcoming City budget process. The event will be at the Mt. Scott Community Center, at SE 72nd and Harold, from 6:00 - 8:30 pm. A second forum will be held Saturday afternoon, from 1:00 - 3:30 pm, at the IRCO Community Space, at 10301 NE Glisan.

Community Budget Forums offer Portlanders the opportunity to share their thoughts with Council before budget deliberations begin. If you're unable to make it out to a forum, you can also take the City's online survey to share your feedback.

Bringing healthy food to Portlanders

March 2, 2010

In the March 2 Oregonian, 'Small bites' reporter Leslie Cole catches up with Michelle Markesteyn Ratcliffe, the state Department of Agriculture's farm-to-school coordinator.

Ratcliffe describes some of the changes made in the past few years: "A lot more fruits and vegetables are being purchased locally and regionally, not just fresh but also (canned and frozen.)"

She says that Portland parents might be surprised by how healthy some options already are. Portland Public Schools' pizza, for example, uses whole-wheat dough and tomato sauce free of corn syrup.

Ratcliffe encourages parents to learn more about the food their children eat at school: they should "go to school lunch and share it with their kids," she says. "I really think that people would be surprised by all the great changes thathave been happening across the state."

Nick is working on several fronts to bring healthier food to Portlanders. Last year he launched a new Community Gardens Initiative to help meet the demand for fresh, locally-grown produce in Portland (see the Community Gardens Toolkit on the left for more!).

He is also working on a new Healthy Snack Policy to bring healthy food to our vending machines and rec centers, and is exploring ways toprovide incentives to vendors for offering healthier food at public events in our parks.

This spring, Parks will launch a pilot project offering free, healthy meals to kids participating in after-school programs at one of Parks' rec centers. Parks is also partnering with Loaves & Fishes to offer low-cost, healthy meals in our Community Centers and will continue to offer free meals as part of next summer's Playground Program.

Thanks to flickr user cafemama for the photo!

'Portrait of America Tour' arrives in Portland

March 3, 2010

Commissioners Fish and Kafoury co-chair the Complete Count Committee, working to make sure historically undercounted communities are accurately represented in the 2010 Census.

The Census shapes the distribution of over $400 billion in federal money each year - $4 trillion over the next 10 years. That funding supports housing, jobs, services for the elderly, parks, schools, and more. For every 100 people not counted, we lose $1.2 million each year for the next 10 years.

The historically undercounted communities in Multnomah County - communities of color, low-income residents, and the homeless, for example - are often most in need of government services. Not counting the approximately 1,600 people currently sleeping outdoors could cost Multnomah County $18 million over the next 10 years.

As Wilson writes in the Oregonian, "Hey you! Fill our your U.S. Census form when it arrives in the mail in two weeks!"

Commissioner to address Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce

March 4, 2010

Next Wednesday, March 10, Nick will attend theAsian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce(APACC) Winter 2010 Quarterly Event as a keynote speaker. Joining him as a keynote speaker will be Roy Kim, President of Central Bethany Development Company.

The two will reflect on lessons learned from the recession and how businesses can succeed in the current economic climate.

APACC works to cultivate "cultural and business relationships among Asian Pacific American chamber members, local businesses, non-profit organizations, government, media," and the public in our region. 

Registration for the event is open until Monday, March 8. Click here for details.