Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 10th, 2020 at 9:40 am
As I’m sure many of you have already heard, Portland lost a political star and community leader on January 2nd when City Commissioner Nick Fish died.
I was away on vacation when I heard about it. And even though I was aware of his fight with cancer, the news was still a shock. I’ve covered Fish since 2008 when he ran for Portland City Council. I’d just written a profile of his competition in that race and Fish called me the next day to introduce himself.
Over the next ten years I came to respect Nick for his thoughtful and earnest approach. Instead of getting offended or shooting off a passive-aggressive text or email when he had an issue with something on BikePortland, Nick would give me a call and politely explain his plans or point of view.
He wasn’t a huge champion for cycling issues, but he rode bikes and advocated for them when the opportunity arose. In my first conversation with him in 2008 he tried to convince me that he could still be a cycling advocate on Council even though he wasn’t an “avid cylist”. “I’m not an artist, but I don’t have to pick up a paintbrush to be a strong advocate for the arts,” he said, “and therefore I don’t have to be an avid cyclist to understand the issues involved.”
Most BikePortland readers will remember Fish for his work on the issue of more singletrack trail access in Forest Park. He learned a lot through what was a bruising process on all sides. During an interview with him about it in 2009, he said all the right things and tried to bring everyone together.
When it came to traffic safety issues, Fish could always be relied upon for strong support. When grieving moms who’d lost their children in traffic crashes testified in front of him back in November, Fish said, “If this moment of remembrance is to mean anything, it must be in service of us doing something different. I thank you for admonishing us to go beyond symbolism and to act.”
I’ll miss Nick Fish. May he rest in peace.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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