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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

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



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.

Shop Local This Valentine's Day!

Letter: Show some love to local small businesses

Commissioner Nick Fish and Michelle Wood in the Portland Tribune, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017

On this Valentine's Day, let's show our nearly 20,000 neighborhood small businesses some love.

The winter storms that pummeled Portland in December and January were hard on everyone, including our local small businesses. Many were forced to close as the roads iced up and employees struggled to get to work. And it couldn't come at a worse time — the holiday season, from Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, is critical to the success of a small business.

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. They provide 270,000 jobs, ensuring that our neighborhoods and our neighbors thrive. They contribute more than $100 million in taxes annually, helping to fund essential city services like firefighters and parks. And unlike the big, out-of-state internet retailers, 70 percent of every dollar you spend at a local business stays in the local economy, keeping Portland vibrant.

Our home-grown businesses call Portland home for a reason, and they put their money where their mouths are. Whether supporting Little League or homeless shelters, local businesses dig deep and give back to the communities they serve.

Our local businesses are good neighbors, and aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. Last spring, business owners in Gateway removed nearly 500 pounds of garbage and cleaned up graffiti on dozens of buildings in East Portland. For Halloween, businesses in Parkrose provided a fun and safe place for more than 1,000 kids to collect candy and coupons. At their annual Christmas tree lighting festival, Kenton businesses donated food and Christmas decorations to local families in need. And after the November gas explosion, Nob Hill businesses raised more than $20,000 to help displaced employees.

Local businesses also stand up for the community they serve. When vulnerable members of our community felt targeted, local businesses created safe spaces for our diverse communities and posted signs telling people of all races, genders, national origins, sexual identities and religions that everyone is welcome.

This Valentine's Day, we have a chance to say thank you to our small businesses with big hearts. Whether you are planning to buy your loved one the perfect card, a bouquet of roses, a box of candy, or a romantic candlelit dinner in a favorite restaurant, we hope you will join us in showing some love to our neighborhood small businesses.

The Weekly Catch

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

Nick Fish in The Oregonian


Letter: Show some love to local small businesses

Nick Fish in the Portland Tribune


City and state seek to seize Superfund initiative

Steve Law in the Portland Tribune

In Other News

Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp and Portland Water Bureau vie for same space

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian


Possible new R2DToo site across from Mercedes dealer

Cole Miller and KOIN 6 News


Over 50 Portland restaurants to donate portion of weekend profits to ACLU in support of immigrants

Lizzy Acker in The Oregonian


Portland announces 10th anniversary Sunday Parkways season

Jonathan Maus in the BikePortland


Get inside creative studios: Design Week Portland (photos)

Janet Eastman in The Oregonian


Incredible LEGO art takes over OMSI

Jamie Hale in The Oregonian

Portland Water Bureau

Water Bureau Finds Additional Cryptosporidium in Bull Run Water

Teresa Black in the Portland Water Blog


Portland Water Bureau Announces Activation of Groundwater Supply

Teresa Black in the Portland Water Blog


Portland’s water switch won’t affect local breweries

Kohr Harlan and KOIN 6 News          


Portland shifts water supply after low levels of parasite detected

KGW News


Portland switches to groundwater supply after Cryptosporidium found in Bull Run water



Portland to switch water supply after parasite detected

KOIN 6 News


Parasite found in Bull Run water for 7th time this year

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Portland switching water source after potentially deadly parasite found

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Portland water bureau stops delivering Bull Run drinking water after finding parasite six times

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian


Portland water customers concerned about parasite found in Bull Run reservoir

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Potentially deadly parasite found in Bull Run water again

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

Heavy Rainfall

CSO Advisory: Heavy rains lead to combined sewer overflow (CSO) to the Willamette River

BES News


KOIN 6 News on Foster Floodplain and the Flood that Wasn’t

BES City Green Blog


Record Feb. 16 rain pounds Portland; flooding, slides result

Allan Brettman in The Oregonian


Heavy rains cause sewer overflows into Willamette River

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

The Weekly Catch


Amid doubts about EPA resolve, Portland and Oregon wisely make a move: Editorial

The Oregonian Editorial Board


EPA to hold public sessions on Portland Superfund's next steps

Pete Danko in the Portland Business Journal

Water Bureau

City Proposes Adding New Chemical Treatments to Portland Drinking Water to Reduce Lead Corrosion
Rachel Monahan in Willamette Week


Portland Water Bureau wants new approach to cut lead in drinking water

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian


Water bureau to seek approval for lead corrosion pilot program

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune

Portland City Council

Portland City Council overturns exoneration of police officer who hit bicyclist with stun gun six times

Jessica Floum in The Oregonian


Stunned: Matt Klug’s saga with Portland police finally ends

Emily Green in StreetRoots News


Portland Council Declines To Discipline Police Officer Over Taser Use

Amelia Templeton in OPB


Police arrest 3 people after activists demand mayor's resignation at City Council meeting

Stephen Mayer on KATU News


Portland City Council meeting shut down again by protesters

Molly Harbarger in The Oregonian


Letter to NWNCC Board

Nick Fish


Historic theater in NW Portland in jeopardy of being demolished

Nina Mehlhaf in KGW News


Trump or No Trump, Portland State University Is Keeping Its Transgender Bathrooms

Sophia June in Willamette Week


Director's Desk: Right 2 Dream Too too valuable to lose

Israel Bayer in StreetRoots News


Patch-A-Thon crews working to fill Portland's potholes

Jason Nguyen in KATU News


Spring Forward: Arts

Megan Burbank in the Portland Mercury