Nick Fish

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Nick Fish

Nicholas "Nick" Fish (born September 1958) is an elected official in Portland, Oregon.

Early life[edit]

Fish grew up in the small rural Hudson River town of Millbrook, New York.[1] The Fish family has a long legacy of public service. His father, Hamilton Fish IV, represented New York in the United States Congress, and was a champion for civil rights. His grandfather, Hamilton Fish III, represented New York in the United States House of Representatives, and served in 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment known as the “Harlem Hellfighters.”

Early career[edit]

After graduating from Harvard University in 1981, Fish worked as a legislative aide for Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. He received a law degree from Northeastern University in 1986.

Fish spent ten years representing health care workers and unions in New York City. He was appointed to Manhattan Community Board Five, a neighborhood association, serving as chair for two years.

Fish championed the renovation of the Times Square Hotel, then a run-down blight in a neighborhood. Working with community non-profit Common Ground, the hotel was remodeled into affordable housing and a thriving community of theater district workers, residents living with HIV/AIDS, and formerly homeless individuals. The Times Square renovation received the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence in 1997.[2]

Fish moved to Portland, Oregon in 1996 after his wife, Patricia Schechter, was offered a teaching position in the History Department at Portland State University. Schechter is the author of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880-1930 (2000), Exploring the Decolonial Imaginary: Four Transnational Lives (2011), and Remembering the Power of Words (2011) with former Oregon State Senator Avel Gordly.

Prior to running for elected office, Fish practiced employment law in Oregon, and hosted Outlook Portland with Nick Fish, a public affairs show on KRCW TV.

Fish has served on the boards of Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland), the Oregon Cultural Trust, Volunteers of America, Oregon, and the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund.

Elected office[edit]

Fish at a meeting of the City Commission

Fish first ran for a seat on the Portland City Council in 2004, losing to future Mayor Sam Adams.[3] In 2008, Fish again ran for the Council, this time in a special election for the unexpired term of resigned Commissioner Erik Sten. He won the seat with 61.4% of the vote.[4] He was re-elected to a full four-year term in 2010 with just under 80% of the vote.[5]

Until February 2013, Fish served as Commissioner-in-Charge of the Portland Housing Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation.

In 2010, Fish led the creation of the new Portland Housing Bureau, streamlining and consolidating the City’s housing programs and services. In 2011, he celebrated the opening of Bud Clark Commons, a cornerstone of the City’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. Named for former Portland Mayor Bud Clark, the award-winning development combines, under one roof, a day center, men’s shelter, and supportive housing.[6]

In 2011, Portland Parks & Recreation won the National Gold Medal for "Best Park System in the Nation".[citation needed]

In June 2013, a shuffling of bureaus among the commissioners by Mayor Hales saw Fish assigned the Bureau of Environment Services and the Portland Water Bureau, and placed in charge of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.[7]


  1. ^ Fish, Nick. "Democratic Party of Oregon". Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence". Bruner Foundation. Retrieved 3 September 2013. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ City of Portland 2004 November Election - Official Results
  4. ^ City of Portland 2008 May Election - Official Results
  5. ^ City of Portland 2010 May Election - Official Results
  6. ^ Fish, Nick. "Commissioner Nick Fish". Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Kost, Ryan (June 4, 2013 (online date June 3)). "Hales shuffles city bureaus". The Oregonian. p. B1. Retrieved June 7, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)