Fish says cancer diagnosis 'biggest challenge I have ever faced'
Portland Commissioner Nick Fish made a startling announcement Thursday morning when he revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer.
In an Aug. 17 statement, Fish said he had been experiencing weight loss, poor appetite, indigestion and abdominal pain during the past few months. A CT scan, followed by a laparoscopy confirmed that he had adenocarcinoma of the abdomen, according to the statement.
He is being treated at the Oregon Health & Science University's Knight Cancer Institute and his doctors have prescribed regular outpatient chemotherapy treatments.
Although the treatments will physically weaken him, Fish will continue to serve on the City Council. He is in charge of the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services, in addition to serving as council liason to Elders in Action, Venture Portland, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and the Portland Rose Festival Foundation.
"This is the biggest challenge I have ever faced," Fish said in his statement. "I intend to fight this disease with every fiber of my body.
"I am incredibly grateful to my family for their love and support. Please keep us in your prayers."
Taking over water bureau
Former Mayor Charlie Hales assigned Fish the water bureau when a citizen initiative threatened to remove it from council control and place it under the authority of a separate board. Fish led the campaign against the ballot measure, which was overwhelmingly defeated.
More recently, Fish led the council deliberations that resulted in a unanimous decision to build a filtration plant to remove a potentially deadly parasite from Bull Run water, the city's primary water source.
Although it will be more expensive than building an ultravolet plant to kill cryptosporium, the council agreed to spend up to $500 million on the filtration plant because it will remove other contaminents from the water, too, including silt from landlsides and ash from wildfires in the watershed.
No decision on re-election
Fish recently told the Portland Tribune he intends to seek re-election in 2018. He has not yet decided whether to stay in the race following the diagnosis.
Although Fish has not reported raising any campaign funds so far this year, he has retained Hilltop Public Solutions. Even though he was not on the ballot last year, Fish raised more than $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 re-elected at the May 2014 primary election with 73 percent of the vote.
So far, affordable housing advocate Margot Black and environmental advocate Julia DeGraw have announced against Fish. They cannot offically file for another month.
Here is the statement Nick Fish's office issued Thursday:
To my family, friends and co-workers: I have some bad news to share with you.
I have been diagnosed with cancer.
Over the past few months, I experienced weight loss, poor appetite, indigestion, and abdominal pain.
A recent CT scan rang a number of alarm bells. A follow-up laparoscopy this week confirmed our worst fears: adenocarcinoma of the abdomen.
I am in good hands at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. My doctors have prescribed regular outpatient chemotherapy treatments. The medicine will weaken my immune system, but should not prevent me from continuing to serve on the City Council.
This is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I intend to fight this disease with every fiber of my body.
I am incredibly grateful to my family for their love and support. Please keep us in your prayers.