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Nick Fish

Commissioner, City of Portland

Meet Nick

Nick was elected to the Portland City Council in a special election in 2008, and re-elected to successive four-year terms in 2010 and 2014.

In 2014, the Portland Mercury called Nick “one of the most effective and values-minded city commissioners during his six years on the council.”

Nick leads the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau. He serves as Council liaison to Elders in Action, Age-Friendly Cities, the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), Venture Portland – which supports small businesses in our community, the Portland Rose Festival Foundation, and the Governor’s Regional Solutions Advisory Committee. And he coordinates the City’s work to clean up the Willamette River.

Previously, Nick led the Portland Housing Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation.

Nick ran for Council on a platform of bringing all the city’s housing programs and functions under one roof. The result: the Portland Housing Bureau, its mission and resources focused on the needs of low-income families, people experiencing homelessness, veterans, and older adults.

In 2011, Portland Parks & Recreation won the National Gold Medal for the best managed parks system in the nation.

Nick has championed reforms of the City's utilities, designed to strengthen transparency and accountability. He launched an innovative new partnership with the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB). CUB serves as an independent consumer watchdog on behalf of residential ratepayers. And he sponsored an ordinance to create the Portland Utility Board (PUB), the citizen-led oversight body for both utilities.

Nick graduated from Harvard in 1981 – and worked as a legislative aide for Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. He received a law degree from Northeastern University in 1986, and spent ten years representing health care workers in New York.

Nick is married to Patricia Schechter, a Professor of History at Portland State University. They are the proud parents of Maria and Chapin. Maria recently completed a Fulbright in Andorra. Chapin is in the Spanish Immersion program at Portland Public Schools.

Nick and his family live in a rental apartment in the Goose Hollow neighborhood, after 20 years of living in a house in Northeast Portland.

In August, Nick was diagnosed with abdominal cancer. He is responding well to treatment at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.

Nick is passionate about civic engagement. He has held leadership positions on the boards of the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Oregon Chapter of Volunteers of America, and the Housing Authority of Portland (now Home Forward). He hosted “Outlook Portland with Nick Fish,” a public affairs show on KRCW, and serves as a volunteer judge each year in the regional We The People competition.

When he's not working, Nick enjoys watching soccer games (especially the Pilots, the Thorns, and Chapin’s teams), roaming independent bookstores and art galleries, listening to jazz, and spending time with his family.


 Nick is the proud recipient of the following:

• 2017 Recognition of Leadership and Service from the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation

• 2016 Honorary Trustee, Steve Lowenstein Trust 

• 2016 Friends of MET Award from the Muslim Educational Trust

• 2016 Angel Award from White Bird

• 2014 David G. Fitzpatrick Spirit Award from Janus Youth Programs

• 2013 City Visionary Award from Venture Portland

• 2013 Honorary Knighthood from Portland's Royal Rosarians

• The 2013 Lamplighter of the Year Award from Operation Nightwatch

• A 2012 Healthcare Champion Award from the Coalition of Community Health Clinics

• A 2012 Royal Rosarians Appreciation Award

• The 2012 Blanchet House of Hospitality Fr. Kennard Award

• The 2011 Low-Income Housing Champion award from the Community Alliance of Tenants

• The 2011 Fighting Spirit Award from Basic Rights Oregon, awarded to the Portland City Council

• A 2010 Celebrating Home award from Common Ground

• The 2009 Reuse Visionary award from the School & Community Reuse Action Project (SCRAP)

• The 2009 Low-Income Housing Champion award from the Community Alliance of Tenants

• A Certificate of Outstanding Service to Organized Labor from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council

• The Chief Joseph Award from the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA)

• A letter of recognition from Portland Fire & Rescue Chief John Klum, presented to Nick and his staff for their efforts during the 2008 December weather emergency

• A 2008 Multnomah County Volunteer Award for his work on the Vital Aging Task Force

• A 2001 Mayor's Spirit of Portland Award for participating in the "Flight for Freedom"


Nick's Calendar