Sellwood Moreland Improvement League

OCTOBER 2023 SMILE Newsletter

SMILE -- "The Neighbor"


October SMILE meetings


The SMILE General Meeting for October will take place on Wednesday, October 4th, 7:30-9 p.m., at SMILE Station – S.E. 13th at Tenino Street, a block south of Tacoma Street, in Sellwood. The October SMILE Board Meeting, also open to all, takes place on Wednesday the 18th, also 7:30-9 p.m.  Those who live in, work in, or own property in either Sellwood or Westmoreland are automatically considered members of SMILE (unless they specifically don’t want to be for some reason); there is no card to carry or dues to pay – but only SMILE members can vote in General Meetings, and can run for seats on the SMILE Board each May.


Sept. General Meeting: “community safety” issues


Grant Huling, new Chair of the Standing SMILE Crime Prevention Committee, also informally called the “Community Safety Committee”, oversaw the major portion of the September SMILE General Meeting. A large crowd, approaching 50 people, attended. After his introductory remarks, which centered on the community resources available to residents from Portland City Bureaus, and how to reach them, Grant introduced Central Precinct NRT (“Neighborhood Response Team”) Officer William Green.  Green – a Franklin High graduate early in this century, born and raised in Inner Southeast Portland – has been a police officer for 12 years for the Portland Police Bureau, and a NRT Officer since 2017. 

After introducing himself, the officer began answering questions from those present, starting with how to discourage car prowls (car break-ins).  Early questions also concerned Portland Police staffing levels, and their effect on policing in the community; enforcement at critical crosswalks; and prosecution of criminals by the District Attorney.  He suggested that at any time, questions, tips, etc., could be directed to him personally by email –  Continuing to answer questions from attendees, he counseled that graffiti should be removed fast – “the sooner you get rid of it the better”.  Leaving it there encourages much more of it, very quickly.   He said the “Safe Rest Village” at Milwaukie and Gideon, just north of the Brooklyn neighborhood, has had “a major, major impact” on the homeless population in that area.

Eric Miller, a former SMILE Board Member, showed some photographs and videos of major fireworks being set off, on the evening of July 4, in Sellwood Park, including major “display type” fireworks – but despite its noise, and its fire hazard to that forested park, there were no Park Rangers or any police presence during this long evening of illegal fireworks.  He suggested SMILE’s Crime Prevention Committee form a subcommittee to focus on “fireworks safety” in 2024.  He asked Officer Green if the PPD has the resources to work with SMILE on this problem?  Green replied, “Holidays are tough for us. We can try. But the Portland Fire Bureau should be alerted – they are a better resource for this issue.” Sellwood resident Henrik Bothe remarked that, “The big Oaks Park fireworks show attracts idiots from all over, who then stay in the neighborhood and set off big stuff in Sellwood Park.”

Officer Green responded to a question by pointing out that crime statistics for our own neighborhood are available through “Portland Maps”, including a breakdown for individual types of crimes.  When asked by an attendee what the number-one concern is of the Portland Police Bureau, Green replied without hesitation, “Fentanyl is the most serious thing I have ever seen.”  He said that it can even harm or kill if a little of the powder just touches the skin.  “And 92% of everything [drug-related] we test at the State Crime Lab contains fentanyl.”


At the end of Officer Green’s presentation, he received thanks from several attendees for the work of the Portland Police, and a round of applause for his appearance in person.  


Sellwood Sewer Extension Project coming

Also on the agenda for the September SMILE General Meeting was a report to the community by April Hasson, a Community Outreach person for the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (and a resident of this neighborhood), on the upcoming “Sellwood Sewer Extension Project” (which also includes a few scattered sewer repairs in Westmorland as well).  She pointed out that the sewer lines in the neighborhood are 80 to 100 years old, and are deteriorating.  In addition, 53 sewer connections are “nonconforming”, and need to be corrected (in which the sewer line to a second property joins with that of a host property before going to the sewer main in the street – no longer an accepted method of connection).  She pointed out that often it is less expensive to a homeowner to have a private contractor take care of correcting nonconforming sewer connections, rather than relying on the city to do it during sewer repairs. 


Construction on this project will begin in January, and the complete project will take two years – although, at any given single location, the work should take no more than four to six weeks.  Sewer and water service will continue uninterrupted at all involved locations during construction, and driveway access to private property is to be generally available – but parking on the street in active project areas will not be permitted, to keep the streets open for construction.  Most work will be done during the day, but there will be some work in the 9 pm to 6 am time period – up to 25 nights of it on Tacoma Street, and up to five nights on 13th Avenue.  She reminded that any sewer problems or street flooding can always be reported, on a 24/7 basis, to this number:  503/823-1700.

District Commission picks “Alder Map”…what next?

 In mid-August, the Independent District Commission charged with forming four geographic voting districts for the new, expanded City Council in our new and more representative form of Portland city government, chose the district map option they’d devised which throws Sellwood, Westmoreland, Eastmoreland, and Reed, and part of Ardenwald and a little part of Woodstock into the west-side, Downtown-centered, voting district, leaving the rest of Southeast Portland under-represented and making those neighborhoods’ concerns proportionately rather insignificant in the district unless the west side of Portland should happen to align with them on issues. The district lines may be redrawn after the 2030 census, to adjust for population changes in four districts that are supposed to have roughly equal populations.  In the meantime, those Southeast neighborhoods do remain east of the Willamette River and maintain the same close relationship they have always had, from a practical point of view.


Crime Prevention & Transportation Committees reactivated

New SMILE Board Member Grant Huling volunteered to be the Chair of the SMILE Crime Prevention Committee (informally called the “Community Safety” committee, pending any change in the ByLaws terminology for this standing committee).  President Dugan then appointed him Chair of that committee. Huling rather heroically also volunteered to Chair the SMILE Transportation Committee, which has recently not had a leader.


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 Past President

Simon Fulford, SMILE Past President

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 2023-24 SMILE BOARD OFFICERS (1-year terms)

President -- David Dugan

Vice President -- Elizabeth Milner

Treasurer -- Pat Hainley

Secretary -- Eric Norberg


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


Zack Duffly

Jim Friscia

Grant Huling

MacKenzie Torres


Bob Burkholder

Tracy Fisher

Ayomide Nikzi

Elaine O'Keefe




Portland, Oregon 97202

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