Sellwood Moreland Improvement League

October 2022 SMILE Newsletter

SMILE -- "The Neighbor"

SMILE October General Meeting: Charter change!

The SMILE General Meetings are always set for the first Wednesday evening of the month. The October 5 General Meeting will feature the in-person appearance of Melanie Billings-Yun, who was a member of the citizen volunteer Charter Commission, and who will be present to answer questions and describe the process by which the Commission arrived at the November City Charter Change ballot measure. Everyone is welcome. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at SMILE Station, S.E. 13th at Tenino Street, one block south of Tacoma Street. The next Board Meeting will be on October 19, at 7:30 p.m. at SMILE Station

PLEASE NOTE: Given the recent spike in COVID cases, attendees will be asked to wear masks while inside the SMILE Station. All General and Board Meetings occur at SMILE Station, S.E. 13th at Tenino in Sellwood, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the public is always warmly welcome to attend any and all of them.

County informs SMILE about wood smoke issues

 By his request, Jonathan Cruz – a program specialist at the Multnomah County Health Department in the new wood smoke curtailment program – was on the agenda of the September SMILE Board Meeting, to report about the health effects of wood smoke, and about the county’s new wood smoke ordinance. Among other things, those who heat with wood stoves must be aware that they must “check before they burn” – because it is now illegal to use wood stoves or fireplaces AT ALL on days when poor air quality is forecast.

More information about the ordinance and all its implication is available online at –

          QFC outlines new ‘neighborhood-friendly’ can and bottle plan

The featured discussion of the evening at the August SMILE General was by Brian Withycombe from QFC Market in Westmoreland.  He explained that the state law still requires “if you sell canned and bottled beverages, you have to take the containers back”.  144 containers are turned in, on average, every day – currently deposited in a machine on the sidewalk in front of the store on Milwaukie Avenue. It draws loiterers and creates noise and sometimes an unsafe environment.  QFC wants to switch the process to a “Dealer Redemption Center” of a type already implemented at New Seasons Market in Sellwood, involving a kiosk inside the store where customers can register for an account at which they could recycle/redeem up to 24 individual drink containers per customer per day.  “The Dealer Redemption Center works by applying a credit to a registered debit card; immediate cash is not an option.” He added that the Mt. Tabor QFC Market has already implemented this plan, and “neighbors say they notice a dramatic difference in the cleanliness and safety of the area around the store, and in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The plan would require removing a wooden cabinet from the QFC Loading Dock at the north end of the rear of the store, and replacing it with a 20-foot Dealer Redemption Container.  Since the bags would be removed from the loading dock by a truck, this plan would require a modification of the Good Neighbor Agreement between QFC and the neighborhood, which was why QFC was appearing at the SMILE General Meeting.  The current agreement specifies no trucks loading or unloading in the parking lot; food deliveries are unloaded at the curb on the north side of the store (although they often drive through the parking lot in order to be oriented correctly at the north curb).  QFC requests that the agreement be modified to allow the can and bottle truck to pick up the collected empties three or four times a week from the 20-foot container in the Loading Dock – “and only this truck”.

Mr. Withycombe asked for SMILE support of this change in container collection, and the modification of the Good Neighbor Agreement to permit it.  He answered a number of questions from those present. There was an informal poll seeking the attitude of those present towards this apparent improvement in the procedure of redeeming bottles and cans, and the result was approval, with five abstentions, and no “no” votes.

Understandably, some residents who live immediately adjacent to the store have concerns about noise and loitering that might come with the change.  They asked for more information about the process QFC will follow to allow the proposed change in the Good Neighborhood Agreement, and assurances that trucks using the Loading Dock directly in the lot – other than brief, occasional can/bottle pick-up – will remain prohibited in the agreement.

It was agreed that SMILE will host a second community meeting.  A QFC representative will bring information about the steps involved in modifying the current zoning and/or agreements that prohibit truck access to the back lot.  QFC’s plans for addressing additional security issues brought up in the question-and-answer period, and the overall condition of the store, will be discussed then. The meeting date and time will be announced.

Controversial zoning request in Westmoreland approved

 David Schoellhemer, Chair of the SMILE Land Use Committee, reports that the contested request for a very high density zoning forthe business property on the west side of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue between Insley and Ellis Streets, has been approved by the Portland City Council, even though by several measures in the city’s own planning it does not qualify. The property is situated on the edge of the Oaks Bottom Bluff, in Westmoreland. The landowner seeks to upzone his property to permit residential construction of as many as eight stories; the City Council has restricted it to six stories, however, since it is on the lip of an urban wildlife area (Oaks Bottom). However, the fact that it would be sited in an established landslide zone was not considered, since evidently that recognition has vanished in the second version of the Residental Infll Plan approved by the city.  How that happened is unclear, but serious landslides affecting property have regularly occurred on the top edge of the Oaks Bottom Bluff, including one that endangered a house – which, to be saved, had to be moved away from the edge of the bluff – just a block south of the property in question a decade ago. The applicant is on record as arguing that engineering plans for any such building there will include stabilizing the bluff edge at that spot to reduce the likelihood of a damaging landslide there – a plan which the city would have to approve before it is implemented.

SMILE strives to serve everyone in the neighborhood

A message from the President of SMILE:
Over the last several months, the SMILE Board had been meeting to create a set of beliefs and values for the organization that will guide all our efforts to engage with, support, and represent, our growing and ever-diverse Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood. We are grateful for the guidance and support we received from the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition in this process. We are proud to share an abridged version of our Beliefs and Values here, and we encourage you to visit us online – – to read more.

Inclusion and Representation: At SMILE, we believe a strong and healthy community requires a diversity of voices, particularly in leadership roles, and we believe in representing all voices in our community.

Accountability: At SMILE, we believe that our policies, practices, and procedures should be consistent, transparent, and align with our values. We commit to being flexible and adaptable to community needs.

Equity: At SMILE, we believe in and are committed to being anti-racist. We recognize that our practices may have resulted in excluding some members of our community, and we pledge to learn from and correct our mistakes with humility and honesty.

Connections: We believe SMILE is only as strong as the community we represent, and the partnerships we nurture. We believe in prioritizing accessibility and fostering relationships among all residents to create a cohesive community. At SMILE we provide opportunities for our community to hear from one another and from a variety of perspectives. We commit to facilitating a safe space for respectful dialogue

Empowerment: We believe SMILE’s role is to actively serve and inform the neighborhood.

Joy: At SMILE we use talents and resources, and collaborate with our community partners, to create opportunities for joy and celebration.


We hope our Sellwood and Westmoreland neighbors will join with us in these efforts.


Elaine O’Keefe, SMILE President

Simon Fulford, SMILE Past President


SMILE Election results!

 May is the month that all 55 recognized neighborhood associations in Portland hold their annual Board elections – and on Wednesday evening, May 4, the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhood association – SMILE – held its election, open to everyone who lives in the neighborhood, or works in the neighborhood, or owns property in the neighborhood.

There are four officer positions – President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary – and those seats have one-year terms; the President cannot serve more than two consecutive one-year terms, but the other officers and Board Members have no term limits.

The new President of SMILE this year is Elaine O’Keefe; the new Vice President is Elizabeth Milner. Re-elected to the two other Officer positions were Pat Hainley, Treasurer; and Eric Norberg, Secretary.

There are eight “at large” Board seats, and each has a two-year term – but half of those seats are up for election every year, since four Board Members are elected each year for two-year terms, providing continuity to the Board. Any vacant Board seat can be filled at any May election to complete that two-year term. There was a partial-term seat to fill this year, so there were five Board seats to fill.  Newly elected to fill them were MacKenzie Torres and David Dugan. Zack Duffly and Jim Friscia were re-elected; and Dave Weber was elected to complete the remaining year of the Board term from which was vacated when Neal Spinler bought a house in another neighborhood and moved away.

The election each year is overseen by the nonprofit “neighborhood association support organization”, Southeast Uplift. Both online voting and voting by paper ballot were offered this year.

If you are interested in becoming more involved with the neighborhood you live in, bear in mind that four more Board seats will open in the May 2023 election, as will all four of the one-year Officer positions. In the meantime, attend a few SMILE meetings this year to learn more about YOUR neighborhood association!


SMILE offers volunteer opportunities on committees

 SMILE has a number of committees in service to a number of needs in the neighborhood, and all are open to any resident or SMILE member in Sellwood and Westmoreland. They are listed on the main SMILE website – – and anyone is welcome to attend (currently, virtually, in ZOOM meetings) and to participate on any and all committees they are interested in.


Websites for Sellwood-Westmoreland

 SMILE offers two complementary websites as a resource for the neighborhood. One is the neighborhood’s blog – – posting neighborhood news, and regularly updated. A second website contains SMILE’s agendas, minutes, announcements, documents, resources, and much ongoing and regularly-updated neighborhood reference information at – In addition, SMILE maintains an informational website for the Oaks Pioneer Church on Spokane Street at the east end of the Sellwood Bridge, for which it is the renting agent – For information on the Sellwood Community House on the corner of S.E. 15th and Spokane Street in Sellwood, now operated as its own separate community nonprofit, “Friends of Sellwood Community House”, go online to:


Who SMILE members are

 SMILE members are EVERYONE living in, working in, or owning property in, Sellwood and/or Westmoreland – unless they specifically exempt themselves. All SMILE members are welcome to volunteer for any of the SMILE committees of particular interest to them.


SMILE is a 501c3 nonprofit

 Of the 95 recognized neighborhood associations in Portland, SMILE is one of the few to be authorized by the IRS as a nonprofit “501c3” organization. This means that donations made to SMILE are tax-deductible – and are very welcome!



THE 2022-23 SMILE BOARD OFFICERS (1-year terms)

President -- Elaine O'Keefe

Vice President -- Elizabeth Milner

Treasurer -- Pat Hainley

Secretary -- Eric Norberg


AT-LARGE BOARD SEATS (2-year terms):


Emily Pitts

Bob Burkholder

Sarah Bunger

Dave Weber   [serving the second half of former Board Member Neal Spinler's term]\


 Jim Friscia

Zack Duffly

MacKenzie Torres

David Dugan





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