Nick Fish Builds Momentum in Reelection Campaign
Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish (Junniper.j)

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish (Junniper.j)

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish formally filed for reelection Monday and updated campaign supporters on new endorsements, including the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, and early fundraising success.


“The working men and women of the building trades are proud to support Nick Fish’s continued service on City Council,” said Columbia Pacific Building Trades council executive secretary treasurer Willy Myers. “Whether it is working to create family-wage jobs, keeping utilities rates down, expanding worker protections, or supporting community benefits agreements and the equity they bring, Portlanders can trust that Nick Fish is working for them.”

Fish has also secured endorsements from trusted leaders across the city. They include:

  • East Portland advocates:  Anita Yap, Karen Fischer Gray, Arlene Kimura, Cora Potter and Linda Robinson
  • Homeless advocates:  Susan Emmons and Andy Miller
  • Civil rights leaders:  Avel Gordly and Walter Cole (Darcelle)
  • Neighborhood leaders:  Thomas Karwaki, Bonny McNight, Maryhelen Kincaid, Rick Nitti and Pat Wagner
  • Nonprofit leaders:  Kay Toran, Paul Lumley, Jackie Mercer and Carmen Rubio
  • Small Business leaders:  Mike Roach and Kim Osgood, Katrina Scotto di Carlo, and Kelley Roy 
  • Environmental leaders:  Rex Burkholder, Emily York and Steve McCarthy
  • Elder advocates:  Steve Weiss, Jay Bloom, Jim Davis and Verna Porter 
  • Community and faith leaders:  Wajdi Said, Sho Dozono, Ping Khaw and Stephen Ying
  • Arts leaders:  Stan Penkin, Natalie Sept, Julie Vigeland, and Phillip Hillaire

Financial support

The campaign has also received enthusiastic financial support in the first five weeks, securing over $30,000 in contributions and pledges – primarily in amounts under $250.

Notable early donors include environmentalist Mike Houck, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, former mayor Sam Adams, Portland Timbers executive Mike Golub, and progressive lawyer Bob Stoll.

“As I balance my work at the City on affordable housing and homelessness, small businesses and protecting our environment, with my treatment for cancer, it has been gratifying to receive such strong support from people across our city,” said Commissioner Fish.  “I am honored by their trust in me, and grateful beyond words.”

Eddie Sherman
Nick Fish on cancer diagnosis: ‘It was very difficult to share this news'
 Click For Full Interview: Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish talks with KGW's Laural Porter about his cancer diagnosis

 Click For Full Interview: Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish talks with KGW's Laural Porter about his cancer diagnosis

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish says he doesn’t want his cancer diagnosis to stop him from serving on the city council, even though he plans to start aggressive treatment in the next few days.

Fish was diagnosed with abdominal cancer on Tuesday after his wife encouraged him to visit the doctor because he was losing weight, had no appetite and starting having stomach pains. Fish told his staff and the public about his diagnosis on Thursday morning.

“I pride myself on staying healthy, eating right. It feels like somebody just sort of snuck in the back door and tried to upend everything,” Fish said.

Fish said he’s struggled the last few days with a fear of the unknown and breaking the news to his family. Fish sat down with his 13-year-old son on Wednesday after he had been away for a few weeks at camp.

“It was very difficult to share this news. We knew it would be very upsetting and there was not a lot we could share with him other than to have confidence in our doctors and in the path ahead that we’re going to take as a family,” Fish said.

Fish said he has lost 30 pounds in recent months and people had started to notice changes. He knew with so many visits coming up OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute that news would get out eventually.

“One of the things I’ve learned about cancer is that people often struggle with these diseases on their own in isolation,” Fish said. “The best way to fight these diseases is to bring your family and friends together as part of your support group.”

He said he’s been flooded with well wishes, including notes from political opponents, fellow city employees and the public at large.

“You and I have witnessed in the last six months a lot of discouraging things in our community. Divisions and people feeling off balance and many things that aren’t so inspiring. So, for me to get this kind of outpouring of love and support has been very reaffirming of kind of the spirit of Portland,” Fish said. “Frankly I’m going to need this support.”

Fish will start an aggressive treatment plan on Monday that involves intravenous and oral chemotherapy. His doctors have explained they might not know for several months if the treatment will be effective.

Fish’s form of abdominal cancer can be quite aggressive but he is optimistic about the coming fight.

“I’m not a statistic,” he said. “My hope is if we get in front of this now and do all the hard work that we’ll be able to manage this disease.”

Fish said he hopes people hear his story and learn to pay attention to their own symptoms. He tried to explain away his individual symptoms – weight loss, lack of appetite, stomach pain – but eventually they became too much to ignore.

“It took a cascade of all these things hitting me at once where finally my wife said ‘enough is enough’ and she forced the subject,” Fish said.

Fish plans to continue working as much as possible but said there will be times he must cut back, especially to make more time for his family.

“I want to extend my life as long as I can,” he said.

Fish has announced he’s planning to seek re-election next year. On Thursday he said he’d still like to run but he’ll have to evaluate his campaign as his treatment progresses.

“The two most important things are my public service and my family. And probably not in that order,” he said. “They’re what gives me great joy and purpose in my life. I want to continue my public service do it for as long as I can and I want to be present for my kids and my wife. We’ll make some adjustments but I think the most important thing is getting back to normal.”

© 2017 KGW-TV

Eddie Sherman
Fish To Seek Re-election

Long-serving Portland City Council member tells the Portland Tribune he is focused on several of the most important issues facing the City Council

Commissioner Nick Fish tells the Portland Tribune he will run for re-election in 2018. Although Fish has previously announced on KGW-TV's pubic affairs program "Straight Talk," it did not receive any other coverage. 


Fish, who is in charge of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services, told the Portland Tribune editorial board last week that he is working on a wide range of issues. They including complying with the U.S. EPA requirement that Portland treat the cryptosporidium parasite in the Bull Run watershed and the related affordable housing and homeless problems. 

Fish has not reported raising any campaign funds so far this year, but has retained Hilltop Public Solutions to manage the campaign and says he will begin raising money later this summer. Even though he was not on the ballot last year, Fish raised over $20,000 which he donated to other campaigns and advocacy organizations. 

A non-practicing lawyer, Fish was elected to fill the unexpired term of Commissioner Erik Sten, who resigned mid-term, with 61.4 percent of the vote in 2008. He was re-elected to a full four-year term at the May 2010 primary election with just under 80 percent of the vote. He was reelected at the May 2014 primary election with 73 percent of the vote. 

So far, affordable housing advocate Margo Black and environmental advocate Julia DeGraw have announced against Fish. They cannot officially file for another month and a half.

Eddie Sherman