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Portland Commissioner Nick Fish dies after two-year cancer battle

Fish was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 2017.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Commissioner Nick Fish died at his home Thursday. He was 61 years old.

Fish had been battling abdominal cancer since 2017. A press release from Fish’s office said he died peacefully surrounded by loved ones.

Fish announced on Dec. 31, 2019, that he would step down once his successor has been elected. 

"Based on the demands of my illness ... I no longer believe that I can do this work at the high level our community deserves and I expect of myself," Fish said in a Dec. 31 statement. "I cannot escape the very sad fact that I will be unable to serve out the remainder of my term."

Fish’s family relayed a message of thanks for "all the words of love and encouragement sent to Nick since his resignation."

Fish lived in Portland since 1996 and was a city commissioner since 2008. He was most recently in charge of Portland Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Environmental Services.

According to the city auditor's office, the Portland City Council will vote next week on authorizing an election to fill Fish's vacant seat. The person who fills the seat will serve through Fish's term, which ends in 2022.

The election will coincide with the city's mayoral primary election on May 19, 2020. 

Fish called his 11 years of service on the Portland City Council the great honor of his life.

In a statement Thursday night, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Fish will be "dearly missed."

“Nick was a dear friend and a trusted public servant. He fiercely advocated for all Portlanders and always led with compassion, wit and intelligence," Wheeler said.

"He was instrumental in shaping Portland for the better and I often sought his advice and guidance. We are especially thinking about his family and his team – as we continue to grieve his passing.

"Nick was taken too early. He will be dearly missed.”

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