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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

The Weekly Catch

Green Street Stewards


Making it Easier to Volunteer with BES

Nick Fish Blog



Uber Offers Oregon Legislature a Deal: Get Portland Regulators Off Our Backs, and We'll Help Fund Your Transportation Package

Nigel Jaquiss in Willamette Week



Executive Order - Assignment of City Departments, Bureaus, and Liaison duties

Mayor Ted Wheeler


Mayor Wheeler issues bureaus to commissioners, keeps several key assignments



Wheeler reassigns city bureaus, takes 911 center

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


After 911 report, mayor takes over Bureau of Emergency Coemmunications

Sarah Roth in KGW


In Rare Move, Mayor Ted Wheeler's Giving Amanda Fritz Just One Bureau To Manage

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury

Portland Pride


Why the Portland Pride Festival Means Even More in 2017

Zach Dundas in the Portland Monthly


Rainbow flags, drag queens, family ties: A visual history of Portland's Pride Parade

Grant Butler in The Oregonian


Here Are Our Picks for the Very Best Portland Pride 2017 Events

Jack Rushall in Willamette Week 

In Other News


Prosper Portland awards $300,000 in grants to eight Interstate projects

Jules Rogers in the Portland Tribune


4 Ways Portland's Willamette Riverfront Could Change

Amelia Templeton in OPB


Oregon becomes first state to allow nonbinary on drivers license

Casey Parks in The Oregonian


New app allows residents to report road issue in Multnomah County

Rosemarie Stein in The Oregonian


7 things to know about OMSI's new 'Pompeii' exhibit

Gabriel Nair in The Oregonian

The Weekly Catch

No air conditioning for the heatwave? Here are some local cooling centers

KATU Staff


Several downtown Portland streets closed this weekend due to courthouse crane construction

KATU Staff


Undocumented PSU graduate's past fuels passion to shape immigration policy

Janaki Chadha in The Oregonian


Water Quality

Swimming, boating in the Willamette River? Environmental Services posts weekly water quality tests through summer

BES News Release


A Brief Guide to Swimming in Portland’s Willamette River

Amelia Templeton in OPB News


Willamette River is cleanest it's been in decades, city says

Keely Chalmers in KGW


City says jump in the Willamette, the water's safe

Olivia Sanchez in the Portland Tribune


Portland Pride

Photos: Portland's 2017 Pride Parade reflects community diversity

Mark Graves in The Oregonian


Washington Park Shuttle

Washington Park officials ask visitors to use shuttle due to loss of parking spots

Kelsey Watts in KPTV



If You Build It...

Dirk VanderHart in The Portland Mercury


After homeless count, officials talk about what's next

Lyndsey Hewitt in the Portland Tribune


Portland Addresses “Derelict RVs” that vex residents, businesses

Claire Duffy in KGW 


In Other News 

Portland’s new strategy to beat graffiti

KOIN 6 News


Judge rules City Council misspent $17 million in water and sewer funds

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Portland Timbers stadium expansion could net team owners $3 million more in tax breaks

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian


Portland Opens Its Streets to Driverless Car Testing

Rachel Dovey in Next City


Portland Business Alliance takes aim at “Better Naito”

Elliot Njus in The Oregonian


Off-road cycling park opens in Portland this weekend

Keely Chalmers in KGW


Oregon moves to strengthen its unique sanctuary state status

Andrew Selsky in KGW

Keeping our Water Clean, Safe, and Reliable

June 27, 2017

At the Portland Water Bureau, we’re committed to providing clean, safe, and reliable water at a fair price.

In 2012, Portland became the only water utility in the country to receive a variance to federal treatment requirements. The variance was a “one strike and you’re out” agreement.

This past winter, following heavy rains, the bureau detected trace amounts of Cryptosporidium in our Bull Run Watershed. The City has been – and remains in – compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. We continue to test our water for parasites (and haven’t had any detections since March), and Bull Run water is safe to drink.

However, because of the detections this past winter, the Oregon Health Authority revoked our variance. This means we are now required to treat our water for Cryptosporidium.

Today, Water Bureau staff presented treatment options to City Council. Council is weighing whether to construct an ultraviolet treatment plant or a filtration plant. Water bureau staff outlined the pros and cons of each.

As Council weighs the options, we continue to work closely with our regulators, our partners at Multnomah County Public Health, our citizen-led oversight bodies the Portland Utility Board and the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon, and the public.

The Portland Utility Board will hold its regular meeting on July 11. And on August 2, Council will decide on a path forward.

Thanks to all our partners who joined us at Council today. And special thanks to Director Stuhr and his team at the Portland Water Bureau for their excellent presentation.

You can check out the presentation here.

Portland Weighs $500 Million Water Treatment Plant

Amelia Templeton in OPB


Hall Monitor: From Exceptionalism to Septic System

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury


Portland must make a $500 million call on removing parasites from its water

Jessica Floum in the Oregonian


Bull Run treatment options discussed by City Council

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

Welcome Josie Donlon!

June 29, 2017

Help us in welcoming Josie Donlon to the Fish Team! She will serve as an intern in our office this summer, and will help with policy research, staffing the Commissioner in meetings and at events, and general office support.

Josie is a rising senior at Jesuit High School in Portland, where she is captain of the women’s varsity tennis team. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society at Jesuit. She enjoys participating in Jesuit’s Campus Ministry and Christian Service programs.

Last year, Josie was selected to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. The program is a social justice summit for students of Jesuit high schools and universities. While there, she presented the need for humane immigration reform to a staffer of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. Josie is also interested in learning more about policies regarding homelessness and environmental sustainability.

In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Nick's 6-Month Report

June 29, 2017

Nick at the 2017 Pride Parade

Dear Friend,

The first six months of 2017 were unprecedented.

A new Mayor and Commissioner. A new President. A surge in hate crimes. Disruptions at City Council. Resistance and progress.

At City Hall, I am working with the community to protect our values. At a time when we can’t count on leadership from Washington, I’m proud of our progress at the local level.

Response to Trump

President Trump wasted little time issuing illegal executive orders, proposing draconian budget cuts, and making executive appointments at odds with Portland values.

In response, the City Council took a number of important actions, including:

   • Adopting a “Sanctuary City” resolution – sending a message to Portland’s many diverse communities – you are welcome here.

   • And joining lawsuits challenging Trump’s “Muslim travel ban.”

I participated in numerous public forums, opposing the rising tide of hate and intolerance. My family proudly marched for women's rights.

And I authored an essay, published in Street Roots, defending funding for Legal Services.

Portland Heroes

In May, a savage attack on a MAX train left two dead and one injured. As our community grieved, we also celebrated the heroism of three Good Samaritans: Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher. I was honored to attend the celebration of Rick’s life and service.

A Progressive Budget

Council adopted a new budget to guide our work in 2017-18. The process, led by Mayor Wheeler, was collaborative and inclusive.

The budget funds many of my priorities, including:

   • Basic infrastructure

   • New tools to address our housing crisis

   • Venture Portland, the Portland Film Office, Open Signal, Village Market, and the Rose Festival

   • Vision Zero

   • East Portland equity

And, for the fourth year in a row, we adopted responsible utility rates, continuing to prioritize basic services and preparations for the “Big One.”

Housing for All

Council took a number of key actions to address the housing crisis, including:

   • Allocating over $26 million to the Joint Office for Homelessness.

   • Appointing an oversight body for the recently-passed Housing Bond. My appointee was Todd Struble, a leader with APANO and the Jade District.

   • Adopting landmark renter relocation assistance, to help soften the blow when renters are displaced because of a no-cause eviction or an excessive rent increase.

   • Establishing a $2 surcharge on short-term rentals to fund affordable housing.

   • Working with community partners to provide more affordable and accessible housing for older adults.

   • Creating an “Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs.”

   • Lobbying the State Legislature for two key reforms: an end to no-cause evictions, and lifting the pre-emption on rent stabilization.

And I continue to push for more resources to fund “permanent supportive housing” – affordable homes with the services low-income adults and families need to be successful.

Our Clean and Green Future

The Council took bold action to combat climate change and support a clean energy future. On the day that President Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, we adopted a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Mayor Wheeler and I are leading the City’s efforts to clean up the Willamette River. While changes at the EPA pose significant risks to our environment, we are committed to engaging all of our stakeholders and moving the Superfund process forward.

And, our public utilities are doing their part. We're planning for the future by making cost-effective investments in resilience, energy-efficiency, and green infrastructure.

“Poop to Power”

BES announced an innovative plan to convert 100% of the methane gas from our sewage treatment process into renewable energy. The result is a triple win. We'll reduce greenhouse gas emissions, replace dirty diesel fuel with clean natural gas, and deliver a profit for our ratepayers.

Hannah Mason Pump Station

The Water Bureau dedicated a new pump station in Willamette Park. The Hannah Mason Pump Station is built to survive the “Big One.” And working with the Energy Trust of Oregon, it will save ratepayers $160,000 a year in energy costs.

Green Streets, Bioswales, and Urban Watersheds

In every corner of our city, volunteers help BES make our city cleaner and greener. From Green Street Stewards, who plant new vegetation and remove sediment from bioswales, to community partners who care for our urban watersheds. Together, we’re making Portland a healthier city and bringing salmon back to our neighborhoods.

Protecting Water Quality

Portland is fortunate to have an abundance of clean, safe, and reliable water. Working with our state and federal regulators, we are making long-term investments in public health and safety.

This winter, following heavy rains, we detected trace amounts of the parasite Cryptosporidium in the Bull Run Watershed. As a result, the Oregon Health Authority revoked our limited-term treatment variance—the only variance granted to an open-source water system in the country. Council is considering a number of options.

We are also working with our regulators to reduce exposure to lead. While our source water and distribution pipes are lead-free, our water passes through bad plumbing fixtures in some “high-risk” homes. We are planning to adjust the pH of our water to make it less corrosive.

Good Government

By strengthening accountability and transparency in government, we build public trust.

I strongly supported Measure 26-189, sponsored by Auditor Mary Hull Caballero. It increases the independence of the elected City Auditor and passed overwhelmingly in the May election.

We ask a lot of our citizen boards and commissions, and count on them for good advice. But too often we do not give them the tools to be successful. That’s why I am leading a reform effort, including mandatory disclosure of conflicts of interest and robust training to support these community volunteers.

Protecting Consumers

When bad actors in the so-called “sharing economy” refuse to play by the rules, I have been standing up for consumers.

I sponsored Measure 26-194 in the May election. It passed with 62% of the vote, and authorizes the Council require internet companies like HomeAway to pay the lodging tax so everyone is taxed fairly.

Commissioner Saltzman and I demanded that Uber turn over information about their use of technology to evade regulators. When they failed to do so, the Council issued a subpoena for the documents.

And because we have a duty to ensure that guests are safe, I am also working with the City Attorney to require companies like Airbnb to disclose the names and addresses of their hosts.

Supporting our Local Small Businesses

I serve as Council liaison to Venture Portland, the umbrella organization for our 50 neighborhood business districts.

This year’s budget continues funding for a successful program we launched to strengthen local small businesses in East and North Portland.

And I worked with local business leaders on important issues in our community, holding roundtable discussions with neighborhood business leaders, launching the “All-User Challenge,” and – after the winter storms hammered our local small businesses – writing an essay to encourage people to show the love and shop local on Valentine’s Day.

Arts and Culture

I’m passionate about arts and culture, and proud to serve as Council liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). Here are a few highlights:

   • Executive Director Eloise Damrosch announced her retirement, after 30 years of exemplary service to our community.

   • Over 30,000 kids benefit from the Arts Tax. The Oregon Supreme Court heard arguments on the sixth and final legal challenge; a decision is expected later this year.

   • The Mayor and I requested a performance audit of RACC – the first in its history.

   • Council celebrated the 25th anniversary of Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, a leading center for Native American art.

   • And the community celebrated the sixth and final season of Grimm with a tree planting in Pier Park.

Portland Rose Festival

This year, Mayor Wheeler asked me to serve as liaison to the Rose Festival, the City’s official festival.

We executed an official agreement with the Rose Festival, and secured a $100,000 grant to support their work. Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade Committee, and I participated in the Starlight Parade.

New Faces on the Fish Team

We welcomed a number of new staff members, and said thank you to others.

Amira Streeter and Todd Lofgren joined our team. Amira, a graduate of Lewis and Clark law school, will focus on Superfund, community development, and citywide policy issues. Todd, who previously worked for Parks, will serve as my liaison to both public utilities.

Jim Blackwood retired after nearly eight years of public service. He worked on many important initiatives, like new oversight bodies for our utilities. And Liam Frost transitioned to the Water Bureau, where he will work on priority projects like expanding the low-income discount program.

The decline in civility in the public square hit City Hall hard. We have witnessed frequent protests, disruptions, and threatening behavior. For some City Hall staffers, it has created a hostile work environment. I am proud of Asena Lawrence for speaking up, including in this piece by Amelia Templeton on OPB.

Thank You

As always, I am honored to serve on your City Council.

Thank you for what you do to make Portland a better place.


Nick Fish