Opinion: both commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish have served the community well

Portland's longest-serving city commissioners, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish, are approaching the final year of their fifth and third terms on Portland City Council, respectively.

We want to take a moment to thank them for their work and commitment to the residents of our great city. Both have served our community well and will continue to do so into the future. Nick has let the community know he is facing a serious form of cancer and continues to stay focused on his job as a member of the city council while planning to run for reelection in 2018.

Though Dan has announced he will not seek reelection to city council, he has made clear he will continue the work he has championed while serving as an elected official. During his years of service, Dan has been the commissioner-in-charge of 11 city bureaus, always providing a balanced voice and steady leadership. He has left a legacy on this city that will benefit the community for decades to come.

In 2002, Dan led the charge to pass the Portland Children's Levy, which invests in programs for kids across our city. The initiative, which generates more than $15 million per year, invests in proven children's programs to support key initiatives such as early childhood learning, after-school programs, mentoring, child abuse prevention and intervention, helping foster kids succeed and mitigating childhood hunger. In addition, Dan established the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services to provide comprehensive services to survivors of domestic violence. Dan's commitment to future generations and vulnerable individuals will be evident for years to come.

Dan has consistently been a champion for government accountability, leading the 2006 voter-approved effort to reform the Fire/Police Disability and Retirement Fund. This effort saved Portlanders tens of millions of dollars while maintaining core benefits for public safety officers, providing an example of the balanced approach Dan brings to policymaking.

Finally, Dan led the effort, with support from his colleague Nick Fish and others, to pass the first affordable housing bond in the city's history totaling $258 million. This new bond will provide resources to create additional housing, which is critical to addressing our housing affordability challenges.

Dan has dedicated his life to public service. He brings a balanced approach to governance combined with a passion to serve those most vulnerable, as well as a keen understanding of how to encourage a thriving business climate, ensuring opportunities for all Portlanders. I have known Dan for many years and look forward to his leadership in the remainder of his term and following community efforts.

Nick Fish thrives on public service and his passion has served Portland well. Nick dives into the details of issues and never shies away from fighting for his values. This will serve him well in the personal fight he faces now. I have no doubt his focus and energy will be brought to bear in successfully overcoming his recently announced diagnosis.

Most recently, Nick championed reforms of the city's water and sewer utilities, strengthening transparency and accountability on behalf of ratepayers through the formation of the Portland Utility Board, a citizen-led oversight body and a partnership with the Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon. Nick's leadership of these bureaus has resulted in long-term stability to invest in the future while minimizing rate impacts.

Nick has left a lasting mark on addressing the housing affordability issues in our city, leading the effort to create the Portland Housing Bureau that brought resources together under one roof with a focused mission on the needs of low-income families, people experiencing homelessness, veterans and older adults. Nick is an indefatigable advocate for the vulnerable in our community.

Nick is a champion for small businesses, working with businesses to support economic growth throughout our city. His passions also include supporting the arts, ensuring Portland is age-friendly and promoting all-user restrooms. He has worked unwaveringly to make Portland a more welcoming city for all.

The city of Portland would not be where it is today without Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish. Each exemplifies the importance of working in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, balancing various interests and ensuring Portland remains a place of prosperity and opportunity. Their service has left an indelible mark on Portland and each will no doubt continue to work on behalf of Portlanders for many years to come.


Jim Mark is CEO of Melvin Mark Companies and is chair of the Portland Business Alliance board of directors. Send feedback to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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