Honoring Nick

Honoring Nick

As the historic wildfire smoke recedes from our city, amidst a global pandemic, an election for the ages, and the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we find ourselves reflecting on the past and wondering about our future. Who are we as a society? Are we fractured and split as many would have us believe, or can we come together to address the pressing challenges we all share? While only time will tell, progress will require leadership and courage by our elected officials to bridge differences and bring us together. Times like these remind us about one of the reasons we miss our leader and friend, Commissioner Nick Fish.

We lost Nick to cancer at the beginning of this difficult year. A tireless champion for Portland, Nick never shied away from addressing the thorniest problems we face, whether it was the climate crisis, housing insecurity, or the structural inequities that hold down too many of our neighbors every single day. Nick was uniquely intelligent, thoughtful, and able to guide us toward the light of justice. While he did not suffer fools, Nick had the empathy and perspective required to build consensus and make progress. We miss Nick so much.

Holst’s friendship with Commissioner Fish began with his election in 2008. Nick immediately became a proponent of our innovative plans to combat homelessness in what would become Bud Clark Commons. Not long after Nick took office, we received an invitation to present our designs to him. While an unusual request at the time, we would soon get used to involving the Commissioner in the design process for our projects. From the Beech Street Apartments to Asian Health and Service Center, Nick loved talking design, and he was never shy to let you know his opinion. He was fascinated how architecture can be an agent of change, and our conversations always left us feeling richer for the experience.

Therefore, it is no surprise how thrilled we are that our latest project will bear Nick’s name. The Nick Fish is currently under construction at NE Halsey and 106th Avenue in the new Gateway Discovery Park. Developed in partnership with Human Solutions, Edlen & Company, and Prosper Portland, The Nick Fish is the embodiment of the values Nick held dear. A truly mixed-use development paired with a new public park, it will house a blend of 52 affordable and 23 market rate apartments, non-profit office and service space, and ground floor retail designed to lower the barriers of entry for small businesses in the Halsey Weidler Commercial District.

As we work closely with LMC Construction to wrap up construction in early 2021, we anxiously await our chance to cut the ribbon of The Nick Fish with our community and project partners as we move people into their new storefronts, offices, and homes. We can only hope that Nick would be proud of our efforts to make a meaningful difference in our small corner of the world, much like he did. Thank you to Nick’s family for allowing us the honor of having one of our designs named after him, and thank you to Human Solutions and Edlen & Company for bringing us along on this journey to create something truly special for our community.

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