City Commissioner Nick Fish Draws a Challenger for 2018 Election

BY RACHEL MONAHAN | WILLAMETTE WEEK

JULY 24, 2017

An environmental advocate and political novice is making a bid for Portland City Hall with a Facebook announcement that she’ll challenge incumbent City Commissioner Nick Fish in 2018.

Julia DeGraw is Northwest organizer with Food and Water Watch, a nonprofit that has helped fight a Nestle water-bottling plant in the Columbia River Gorge town of Cascade Locks.

“From beating back Nestle’s plan to bottle public water in the Gorge, to organizing resistance to big chemical corporations in rural Oregon, Julia knows what it takes to bring Oregonians together to win for each other,” her announcement states.

She lives east of 82nd Avenue and, if elected, would be the only city commissioner to live on the outer eastside.

“Julia’s campaign is about building power with the people to make real change in our community,” the announcement on Facebook says. “It is no coincidence that outer east Portland has no representation on City Council—electing Julia means being part of a real shift in City Hall.”

Her announcement was first reported by KGW.

She grew up in West Linn and has been working for the last 12 year as an environmental advocate.

The first day candidates can officially declare for the 2018 election is Sept. 7. De Graw is getting an early start.

Last year, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly was the first candidate to successfully challenge an incumbent at City Hall in 24 years. But unlike Steve Novick, who lost to Eudaly, Fish has broad popularity and has previously fended off challengers.

The 2018 city elections will test whether the Eudaly-Novick race had more to do with Portland’s displeasure with Novick or a larger anti-incumbent sentiment.

DeGraw says she believes the coming election will be about change.

“Nick Fish represents business as usual at City Hall and solutions that aren’t working for Portlanders,” she tells WW. “In the Trump era people are fired up for change, and they’re ready for someone who will work with them.”