Via Street Roots comes news that Commissioner Nick Fish has appointed Sam Chase as his chief of staff. I've got calls in for comment, but briefly, Chase is (was?) executive director of the Community Development Network/Oregon Opportunity Network, a coalition of nonprofit housing developers. In 2006, he ran for state senate, and had Fish's endorsement.

What does this mean? Well for starters, that's a whole lot of housing expertise and advocacy in one office (I'd put my money on Fish finding a chief with a different perspective, to round out his own background and interests). More importantly, it means Fish and Chase will now start hiring the rest of the staff--and hopefully Fish will be a little less frenzied soon.

UPDATE: Statement from Fish's office, after the cut.

City Commissioner Nick Fish Announces New Chief of Staff

Portland, OR. July 10, 2008--Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish today announced his choice for Chief of Staff, Sam Chase. “Sam has an impressive record creating opportunities for vulnerable seniors and families with low incomes, supporting schools, and protecting the environment.” says Fish, “His accomplishments reflect his strong commitment to consensus building and community input. Those are values I want front and center in my office.” Chase will begin the transition to his new position immediately and assume the job full-time August 1, 2008.

Chase's extensive experience underscores the new Housing Commissioner's commitment to affordable housing. Chase's leadership in coalition building and bringing a broad range of community stakeholders into the political process has resulted in millions of dollars and hundreds of homes for our most vulnerable seniors, families with children, and people with disabilities. Specific accomoplishments include securing $30million in housing investment funds and reforming urban renewal to provide an estimated $27 million annually.

Chase is currently the Executive Director for the Oregon Opportunity Network, formerly called the Community Development Network. He has served as Director of the Clackamas Community Land Trust, Housing Policy Advisor to former Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury, and as a board member for the Housing Development Center and the Portland Community Land Trust.

Chase serves on the boards of the Coalition for a Livable Future and the Multnomah County Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Other work experience includes the Yes! On Portland School Bonds and Kitzhaber for Governor campaigns. Chase, who previously served on the Board of the Northwest District Association, lives with his wife and two children in Northwest Portland.

"I've worked most of my adult life in community service focused on serving our most vulnerable citizens. Nick Fish clearly shares this commitment" said Chase.

Commissioner Fish, a civil rights lawyer and long-time affordable housing advocate, replaced retired Commissioner Erik Sten in the May primary election.