Sellwood Moreland Improvement League

October 2021 SMILE Newsletter

SMILE -- "The Neighbor"


ALERT: “Portland Marathon” closes streets Sunday, October 3rd!

 As in prior years, the route of this year’s Portland Marathon will take runners throughout the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood.  This will SIGNIFICANTLY impact transportation into, out of, and throughout, the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood (as well as parts of Eastmoreland and Brooklyn), beginning Saturday, October 2nd – when “no parking” signs will go up, and cars on the streets on the route will start to be “courtesy towed” to other nearby local streets.

SMILE's Transportation Committee Chair, Zack Duffly, met with a representative from the Marathon, who revealed that organizers this year have attempted to improve the experience for impacted neighborhoods, based on feedback from past years. Information about the route and the local restrictions is available online, and should be studied by those impacted:

Importalntly, it will generally not be possible to drive on, or drive across, the streets used for the race – until the last runner has passed the location, and the traffic control devices have been removed. Vehicles will be turned away one block prior to reaching the race route.

Runners will enter Sellwood-Westmoreland via the Sellwood Bridge, running north on S.E. 7th Ave to the Oaks Bottom bluff, and then continuing east on Sellwood Blvd. The route then turns north onto 13th Avenue and then east on Bybee Blvd. Upon reaching the Moreland Presbyterian Church, runners turn right to run south down SE 19th until Spokane Street, and then run east on Spokane, turning north on 21st Avenue, east on Lambert Street, and finally north on S.E. 22nd to connect back onto Bybee Blvd.

At the intersection of 22nd and Bybee the race routes diverge: The half marathon continues north on 22nd Avenue, but the full marathon turns right onto Bybee Blvd and runs east to do a 5-mile loop around Eastmoreland and Reed College. Full marathon runners return from the Eastmoreland loop the same way they left, via SE Bybee Boulevard. Upon returning to 22nd and Bybee Blvd, they turn right and join the half marathon course by continuing north on SE 22nd Avenue, until turning left to run west on Reedway to S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. Runners then exit the neighborhood running north on Milwaukie.

BOTTOM LINE: During the Marathon, it will not be possible to use the Bybee Boulevard overpass of McLoughlin to cross back and forth between Sellwood-Westmoreland and Eastmoreland between the hours of 7:20 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. It will not be possible to drive on or across 7th Avenue, Sellwood Boulevard, 13th Avenue, Bybee Boulevard, 19th Avenue, Spokane Street, 21st Avenue, Lambert Street, 22nd Avenue, Reedway Street, or Milwaukie Avenue on the portions of those roads used by the race beginning at 7:20 a.m. Sunday morning, October 3rd, and lasting as late as 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., depending on the location.

Sellwood and Westmoreland residents, and all motorists, are asked to plan around these city-permitted blockages, and – basically – to avoid having to drive a vehicle anywhere that morning! Perhaps just relax and enjoy the passing marathon. There will be prizes for the neighborhoods most enthusiastically cheering on the passing runners; you might want to pitch in and root as they pass.


SMILE’s September General Meeting devoted to homelessness solutions

 SMILE President Simon Fulford scheduled the entire agenda at the September 1st General Meeting for an in-depth discussion of the homelessness situation in Inner Southeast Portland, and ways Neighborhood Associations might be part of the solution.

First on the agenda was a discussion by representatives of the local Multnomah County “Willamette Center” shelter in Westmoreland, at 5120 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, at the corner of Mitchell Street. The shelter is run for the county by Transition Projects, and Duncan Anderson, the Manager of that shelter – as well as Shaynna Hobson of Transition Projects – were present. They revealed that they had hosted 317 clients in the shelter in 2020; 41 were put in permanent housing. Strict rules apply to the clients at the shelter, but they can stay as long as they follow the rules and are actively seeking solutions to their situation; job assistance is included. COVID-19 required reduction of the number of clients by 50%, there and at all other shelters, for safety; outside volunteers were put on hold for months, but the shelter is starting to accept meals and services from volunteers again. 

“The population served [at the Willamette Shelter] is getting older; the majority are over 45, and many are over 55,” Duncan Anderson reported. Transition Projects also runs the Banfield Shelter in Northeast Portland, which is a former motel; those most at risk from the coronavirus (due to age and/or health) were moved there because they would live in individual units there, and thus would be less likely to be exposed to the virus. The pair commented that their observations about the older trend in clients at Transition Projects shelters might be at odds with any observations about their own clients by “Youth Services”, which serves the homeless under age 26. A lengthy question and answer period followed.

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to “neighborhood solutions” to the homeless problem, with four guests present:  David Dickson, of the Downtown Neighborhood Association; Matt Lembo, of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, and “Beacon Village; Tom Hickey of the Bridgeton Neighborhood Association, and “Shelter Now”; and Janet McManus of the “We Shine Initiative” nonprofit organization.

Tom Hickey started the presentation.  He explained that the Bridgeton neighborhood is in North Portland, near Delta Park; he commented, “the city needs to do more to service unsupported homeless camps”. He said he has testified on the matter before the City Council. “Community support of ‘small villages’ is critical to their success,” he remarked. “Neighborhood associations, banding together, can accomplish change.”  Some Q and A followed.

David Dickson said that the Downtown Neighborhood Association has a specific “Homelessness Committee”, since that is the #1 problem downtown. “The committee engages in education, advocacy, and community building.” There were 143 tents and 181 homeless people recorded in the census done downtown – both figures are up 25% since the census was completed, he said. The Downtown Neighborhood Association is “delivering survival items and building friendships downtown.”  Some Q and A followed.

Matt Lembo revealed that the much-publicized homeless problem at Laurelhurst Park has not yet been solved. “40 to 50 homeless forced out of Laurelhurst Park move to Sunnyside Park, and when they are forced out of there, they go back to Laurelhurst Park. This has been going on for years.” The Sunnyside Neighborhood Association has sought to help; it has cleaned up campsites and “gotten acquainted with these people”. Southeast Uplift, Southeast’s nonprofit neighborhood association service coalition, is “on board with the idea of sanctioned homeless camps distributed throughout Southeast Portland”.  Matt told of the origin of a small sanctioned homeless camp, “Beacon Village”, being built as ten small housing units on the parking lot of a church in the Montavilla neighborhood; being built are small prefabricated housing units from “Pallet Homes”.  Some Q and A followed.

Janet McManus, of the newly formed 501c3 nonprofit “We Shine Initiative”, said she has been a social worker for 40 years.  What “We Shine” is doing is similar to what Matt just reported on – establishing, building, and maintaining “micro-villages”, ten small housing units apiece in size. They will provide not only hygiene and other basics, but actual support services, to be distributed all across the area. The plan for these micro-villages is for them all to be on leased private property. The organization is negotiating to lease their first property at 33rd and N.E. Broadway, but they are still waiting for funding they have applied for before they can proceed. Their vision for the small number of residents of each of many planned micro-villages is to provide transitional service and assistance finding jobs and permanent homes in the same manner as Transition Projects is doing at their larger shelters. Some Q and A followed.

Simon Fulford said that he found the evening’s focused discussion “intense and valuable”.  He promised that there would be further discussion at the SMILE Board Meeting on September 15 – Board Meetings are also always open to the public – and there would be further discussion on the subject at the next SMILE General Meeting on October 6.


No in-person SMILE meetings yet; ZOOMing continues

 The next online SMILE General Meeting for October will be at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, October 6. The SMILE Board Meeting for September will be on Wednesday evening, October 20, at 7:30 p.m.  Each meeting will last approximately 1-1/2 hours.

Simon Fulford, SMILE President, leads the Sellwood-Westmoreland community virtual “online” meetings via “ZOOM”, within the rules governing the operations of 501c3 nonprofit organizations. SMILE online meetings take place at the same time, and on the same date, as have been the pre-COVID in-person meetings – and they are always open to all SMILE members – that is, everyone who lives in Sellwood or Westmoreland, or works there, or owns property there. And guests are always welcome, too. To attend, e-mail your request to Simon Fulford at – He will reply with a link for you to click to enter the meeting at the listed time, on the scheduled date, using a computer. Everyone is welcome.

When these coronavirus-related restrictions are relaxed, a time still in question because of the rise of the COVID-19 Delta Variant, SMILE will resume in-person meetings at SMILE Station, S.E. 13th at Tenino in Sellwood – but with the hope of finding a practical way of still making them available online for those unable to go to SMILE Station.

Stay in touch with SMILE at its general website during this time – – and also at its “procedural and resources” website, where agendas and meeting minutes may be found –


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 2021-22 SMILE BOARD OFFICERS (1-year terms)

President -- Simon Fulford

Vice President -- Ayomide Nikzi

Treasurer -- Pat Hainley

Secretary -- Eric Norberg


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


Elaine O'Keefe

Elizabeth Milner

Jim Friscia

Zach Duffly      [elected in 2021 for unexpired term of Alison Daniel]



Emily Pitts

Bob Burkholder

Sarah Bunger

Neal Spinler       


Portland, Oregon 97202

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