Nick Fish

Nicholas Stuyvesant Fish (September 30, 1958 – January 2, 2020) was an American politician and lawyer who served as a Commissioner of Portland, Oregon from 2008 to 2020. A Democrat, Fish worked with Portland Parks & Recreation, the Portland Housing Bureau, and the Bureau of Environmental Services.[1]

Nick Fish
Commissioner Nick Fish.jpg
Portland City Commissioner
In office
2008 – January 2, 2020
Preceded byErik Sten
Succeeded byDan Ryan
Personal details
Nicholas Stuyvesant Fish

September 30, 1958 (1958-09-30)
Millbrook, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 2, 2020 (2020-01-03) (aged 61)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesFish family
Alma materHarvard University (BA)
Northeastern University (JD)

Early lifeEdit

Fish was born and raised in Millbrook, New York.[2] He is a member of the prominent Fish political family. He was the son of Julia MacKenzie and Hamilton Fish IV, who represented New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1995. His grandfather, Hamilton Fish III, represented New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1920 to 1945 and served in 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment known as the "Harlem Hellfighters." Fish's great-great grandfather was Hamilton Fish, the 26th United States Secretary of State.[3]


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 practiced law in New York City and in Portland, Oregon.[4]

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.[5]

Fish championed the renovation of the Times Square Hotel. 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[citation needed]

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


Fish at a meeting of the City Commission

Fish first ran for a seat on the Portland City Council in 2002, losing to Randy Leonard.[8] He ran again in 2004, losing to future Mayor Sam Adams.[9] 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.[10] He was re-elected to a full four-year term in 2010 with just under 80% of the vote.[11]

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

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.[12]

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.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Fish and his wife lived in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland.[14]

Fish was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2017.[15][16] On December 31, 2019, Fish said he was no longer able to carry out his work as a commissioner and announced his plan to resign upon the election of a successor.[17] Two days later, Fish died at his home in Portland.[18]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fish, Nick. "Democratic Party of Oregon". Retrieved 23 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Bingham, Larry (2010-09-28). "Portland city Commissioner Nick Fish hopes to secure a medal for a WWI soldier who served with his grandfather". oregonlive. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  4. ^ Democratic Party of Oregon-Commissioner Nick ish
  5. ^ "Nick Fish | Democratic Party of Oregon". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  6. ^ "Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence". Bruner Foundation. Retrieved 3 September 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Portland State College of Liberal Arts & Sciences: Department of History | Faculty bio-Patricia Schechter". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  8. ^ 2002 September Special Election - Official Results
  9. ^ City of Portland 2004 November Election - Official Results
  10. ^ City of Portland 2008 May Election - Official Results
  11. ^ City of Portland 2010 May Election - Official Results
  12. ^ Fish, Nick. "Commissioner Nick Fish". Retrieved 23 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Kost, Ryan (June 4, 2013). "Hales shuffles city bureaus". The Oregonian. p. B1. Retrieved June 7, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Meet Nick | The City of Portland, Oregon". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  15. ^ Oregonian/OregonLive, Jessica Floum | The (2017-08-17). "Portland Commissioner Nick Fish diagnosed with cancer". oregonlive. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  16. ^ "Commissioner Fish says he's blessed with support while battling cancer, hopes Wheeler runs for second term". KGW. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  17. ^ A Message to the Community from Commissioner Nick Fish
  18. ^ Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish dead from stomach cancer

External linksEdit