Commissioner Nick Fish, whose re-election fight next year got a bit more complicated after Mayor Charlie Hales made him water and environmental services commissioner, has finally begun arming himself courtesy of some major checks from some of Portland's biggest political financiers.
In the past week alone, according to the secretary of state's office, Fish has accepted thousands in donations from landowners and developers including Roy Jay ($500), Dike Dame ($500), Melvin Mark ($1,000), Al Solheim ($1,000), and Jay Zidell ($1,000). He's also taken big checks from Mike Golub of the Portland Timbers and Robert Speltz of Standard Insurance. (Speltz also is active in the marriage equality fight and in arts advocacy, among the areas where he and Fish have engaged one another). All told, Fish has raised $7,100 this year, including a $1,500 personal loan.
The money from Dame could be seen as interesting. Fish was the only commissioner willing or able to sit down with Dame and his associates in the Pearl, led by Homer Williams, in their fight to kill Commissioner Amanda Fritz's plan to move homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too into the Pearl.
But Fish's ties to Dame also stretch back well before the battle over R2DToo. Fish, as housing commissioner, worked with developers to site affordable housing in the Pearl. Williams and Dame also were integral to developing South Waterfront, another spot where Fish found a home for affordable housing projects.
Fish, meanwhile, has a long way to go before he matches his other ballot-bound colleague next year, Dan Saltzman. Saltzman, who announced just before Labor Day, has raised more than $21,000. He's also been raking in his big bucks from some of the city's business pillars, with large checks from Plaid Pantries, the Naito family, parking lot magnate Greg Goodman (Saltzman's family is also in the parking business), Portland Business Alliance president Sandra McDonough, and Melvin Mark.
Neither Saltzman nor Fish—incumbents who aren't seen as terribly vulnerable—have any declared opponents yet. And a large war chest, now that Portland no longer has publicly financed campaigns, is probably a damned good way of keeping things that way.