Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish

Commissioner, City of Portland

phone: 503-823-3589

Email: nick@portlandoregon.gov

1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View Less

The Weekly Catch

Auditor’s Charter Proposal

Council Refers Auditor's Proposal to Increase Independence to the Voters

Commissioner Nick Fish Blog

 

Portland auditor proposal gets unanimous Council support: Editorial peak

The Oregonian Editorial Board

 

Portland voters to decide on increasing independence of City Auditor's Office

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

 

Portland auditor's independence proposal deserves unanimous City Council support: Editorial Agenda 2017

The Oregonian Editorial Board

Muslim Educational Trust Hosts Emergency Forum

Muslim Educational Trust Emergency Forum

Commissioner Nick Fish Blog

 

1,000-plus gather for 'emergency forum' about Trump immigration ban

Jim Ryan in The Oregonian

 

Local mayors tell Muslim center crowd: 'Standing with you right thing to do'

Mandy Feder-Sawyer in the Portland Tribune

 

Muslim Educational Trust schedules 'emergency forum' to discuss Trump order

Pamplin Media Group

Portland’s Relocation Ordinance

Portland City Council passes ordinance requiring tenant relocation assistance

KATU News

 

No-Cause Evicted? Landlords Now Have to Pay Your Relocation Costs

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury

 

Portland landlords must pay relocation costs to evict tenants without cause

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian

 

Council votes to make landlords pay eviction relocation costs

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

 

Portland Landlords Now Required to Pay Moving Costs for Tenants Evicted Without Cause

Rachel Monahan in Willamette Week

 

City Council passes ordinance on tenant relocation

KOIN 6 News

 

Portland commissioners unanimously pass rental measure

Andy Giergerich in the Portland Business Journal

Trumps Executive Order

Portland Police Won't Enforce Trump Immigration Orders

Kristian Foden-Vencil, OPB News

 

Police chief: 'We do not enforce federal immigration laws'

Pamplin Media Group

 

Hundreds gather in downtown Portland to protest immigration policies

KATU News

 

Hundreds attend downtown Portland rally against Trump immigration policies

Carli Brosseau in The Oregonian

 

#NoBanNoWall rally attracts hundreds in downtown Portland (Photos)

Andy Giegerich and Cathy Cheney in the Portland Business Journal

In Other News

Cryptosporidium found in Bull Run water, but city says public not a risk

Pamplin Media Group

 

Friendly Reminder: Uber Has Always Been Terrible

Erik Henriksen in the Portland Mercury

 

Portland Will Use Salt to Clear Roads of Snow, Starting This Week

Sophia June in Willamette Week

Statement of Commissioner Nick Fish on the Retirement Announcement by RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch

February 8, 2017

"Eloise Damrosch has been a champion for art and culture in our community for over 30 years. She has led RACC with distinction since 2004, expanding investments in public art, nurturing emerging artists and community-based arts organizations, and focusing on equity and access. She played leadership roles in the development of Work for Art, The Right Brain Initiative, and the Arts Tax.

As the City's Arts Commissioner, it has been an honor to partner with Eloise. She is a friend and colleague. I wish her well in her richly deserved retirement, and join with our community in expressing my gratitude for her stellar service to our city."

The Weekly Catch

Regional Arts & Culture Council

Statement of Commissioner Nick Fish on the Retirement Announcement by RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch

Nick Fish Blog

 

End Of An Era For Portland Arts: Eloise Damrosch To Retire

April Baer in OPB

 

Longtime Chief of Portland Public Art Announces Her Retirement

Nigel Jaquiss in Willamette Week

 

RACC's much-venerated leader set to retire

Andy Giegerich in the Portland Business Journal

Portland Water Bureau

Health Experts: Parasite Cryptosporidium Not Established In Portland Water Supply

Kristian Foden-Vencil in OPB

 

Parasite in water prompts talks of treatment plant

Lisa Balick and KOIN 6 News

 

State could press city on water treatment after parasite found in Bull Run samples

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

 

Portland Water Bureau finds Cryptosporidium in Bull Run sample, no risk to public

KATU News

 

Portland finds parasite in drinking water, raising possible need for treatment plant

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian

In Other News

Portland’s work on Johnson Creek helps prevent flooding

Kohr Harlan and KOIN 6 News

 

Willamette Superfund cleanup expected to proceed under Trump

Stephen Quirke in Street Roots News

 

Developers Just Proposed Nearly 6,000 Apartments to Evade Portland's New Affordable Housing Mandate

Dirk VanderHart in the Portland Mercury

 

Marijuana home delivery starts in Oregon

Katherina Cook in KGW

 

Packy, Portland's Famed Pachyderm, Dies At 54

Anna Griffin and Byran M. Vance in OPB

 

8 arts picks: Theater, shadow puppetry, ballet, art exhibits and more

Amy Wang in The Oregonian

Nick's Op-ed in The Oregonian on Permanent Supportive Housing

Supportive housing saves the lives of Portland's chronically homeless (Opinion) 

Commissioner Nick Fish in The Oregonian, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017

During a recent winter storm, Karen Lee Batts died of hypothermia. She had a history of mental illness and was found alone in a downtown parking garage. That night, a winter shelter near the garage was open and had room for her.

Her tragic death was not an isolated event. In 2015, 88 homeless men and women died in Multnomah County. Roughly 1,800 men, women and children continue to live on our streets each night. Thousands more are in our shelters. Many are struggling with mental illness and addiction. After each death, we ask the same question: What can we do to save more lives?

The time has come to move from soul-searching to action, based on what we know works. For people experiencing homelessness that is chronic and persistent, there is a nationally recognized solution. Permanent supportive housing combines deeply affordable housing with client-centered supportive services. It is a cost-effective, proven approach to reducing chronic homelessness.

Case in point: The successful Portland-Multnomah County effort to end veteran's homelessness. The federal government was a key partner, issuing vouchers that covered the cost of rent assistance and services provided by the Veteran's Administration.

As The Oregonian/OregonLive explained in an editorial: "The same spirit of cooperation that has made a meaningful difference in the lives of hundreds of veterans could also be applied to other disadvantaged groups. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to narrow the focus, create the right partnerships, and make the best possible use of resources already at your disposal."

Here is the difficult truth. Many chronically homeless people won't access a shelter and are unable to be successful tenants. They have unique needs for both affordable rental housing and intensive services. Depending on the person, it could include mental health therapy, drug and alcohol treatment and employment counseling.

Supportive housing improves outcomes and is cost-effective. For too many people living on our streets, the police serve as case workers, the fire department provides ambulance services, and emergency rooms handle basic health care. It is the most expensive, least efficient system ever devised.

By contrast, it costs less to invest upstream in improving mental and physical health than it is to subsidize expensive inpatient mental health care and hospitalization. Healthy clients are more likely to become stable tenants and productive members of our community.

According to a recent study, we are short around 1,800 units of permanent supportive housing. That is a big number and will require a coordinated effort by every level of government, local nonprofits and health care providers.

Since the Portland City Council declared a "state of emergency" to address our housing crisis, we have responded with urgency. Portland voters approved a $260 million housing bond. The Council implemented inclusionary zoning, and increased funding for rent assistance and shelters. The city and county created a new Joint Office of Homeless Services, streamlining the delivery of services. Recently, we adopted historic new renter protections.

The community has stepped up, too. Hospitals are working with nonprofits to expand access to treatment. Local developers are pitching new public-private partnerships. Recently opened is the Unity Center, dedicated to serving people experiencing a mental health crisis.

But still we need to do more. It is time to prioritize the hundreds of very poor, vulnerable families and adults who are at greatest risk.

On Tuesday, the city and county will hold a joint work session to review the promising work of A Home for Everyone. I will propose that we make a longterm commitment to build and fund an additional 2,000 units of permanent supportive housing. We need to set a hard goal of 200 units a year, with a plan to meet our goal in 10 years. It won't be cheap. But continued failure is even more expensive.

A community that came together to protect our veterans can significantly reduce chronic homelessness. It will require leadership, focus, hard choices and collaboration.

We are too late to save Ms. Batts. But we can save hundreds of other lives.

Nick Fish is a Portland City Commissioner.