Commissioner Nick Fish to resign amid cancer fight

Politics

'Serving on the Council has been the great honor of my life'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Commissioner Nick Fish announced Tuesday his fight against stomach cancer had become more complicated, leading him to decide to resign from office.

Fish announced his intent to resign in a statement:

“Serving on the Council has been the great honor of my life,” Fish wrote. “Based on the demands of my illness, however, I no longer believe that I can do this work at the high level our community deserves and I expect of myself. I cannot escape the very sad fact that I will be unable to serve out the remainder of my term. I trust my Council colleagues to determine the most appropriate date for an election to select my successor, minimizing disruption and cost to the City.”

Fish said his resignation will be effective as soon as his successor is elected. Sonia Schmanski, Fish’s chief of staff, told KOIN 6 News a special election will be scheduled and a successor could be elected as early as May or as late as the fall.

Fish plans to work with Mayor Wheeler and his team at City Hall in the coming months to ready for the transition.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury responded to Tuesday’s announcement, calling Fish a “true public servant” and wishing him comfort.

“That Nick Fish would prove to become a strong and vocal leader on issues related to affordable housing and homelessness was never a surprise,” Kafoury wrote in a statement. “His unwavering desire to do the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy, should be the gold standard for current and future elected officials because Nick Fish has never taken a shortcut.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released the following statement:

“Commissioner Fish is a great friend and colleague. During his tenure at City Hall, he has done much to improve the lives of Portlanders. His leadership has been essential. We will continue to support him and his team as they navigate this difficult time. We will let you know when we have updates on next steps.”

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty released the following statement:

“In light of Commissioner Fish announcing his plans to step down as commissioner, I would like to wish him well as he focuses on his health and his family. During this transition, I am comforted by remembering that during times of leadership change, it’s the community who continually moves our city ahead. In addition to those in elected leadership and important management roles, our community is full of leaders that remain steadfast in taking on our city’s biggest issues. Together we will move forward doing the work of the city.”

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