Sellwood Moreland Improvement League

January 2021 SMILE Newsletter

SMILE -- "The Neighbor"



SMILE General Meeting in ‘homeless’ discussion

 The December SMILE General Meeting on December 2 had as a guest Shaynna Hobson, from Transition Projects, the nonprofit that runs Westmoreland’s “Willamette Shelter” for Multnomah County. She reported that all shelters have been reduced to half capacity to meet COVID-19 “social distancing” requirements. Those who are offering food services still are, but only on a to-go basis currently. Transition Projects is still providing severe weather shelter for those needing it, she said. In the subsequent discussion with meeting attendees, concerns were expressed about the danger of illegal cooking and warming fires, and the violence associated with some large encampments. Overseeing local camping problems has been R. Corless, Chair of the SMILE Crime Prevention Committee, who has been trying to establish a “neighborly connection” with the homeless, but has been identifying what is private property for the information of those who may be camping on it.



No in-person meetings, per “social distancing”; ZOOMing allowed

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

In accordance with the directives of the Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, SMILE cancelled all of its in-person public meetings, including its General Meeting on the first Wednesday evening of each month, and the Board Meeting on the third Wednesday evening of each month from March 16 until further notice, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. When these restrictions are eventually relaxed, SMILE will resume in-person meetings at SMILE Station, S.E. 13th at Tenino in Sellwood. In the meantime, Simon Fulford, SMILE President, leads 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 usual, are always open to all SMILE members – that is, everyone who lives in Sellwood or Westmoreland, or works there, or owns property there. To attend, simply 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 your computer.

Stay in touch with SMILE at its general website during this time – – and, also, at its procedural and resources website,


Public funding attained for “SMILE Christmas Tree”

A longtime community tradition begun by SMILE members decades ago has been the annual lighting of the SMILE Christmas Tree, on the Bybee Curve between Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial and the Beeson Chiropractic and Wellness Center. The tree itself is on property owned by Emily and Isaac Edwards, who graciously permit this use each year; the tall evergreen tree overlooks Oaks Bottom and the Willamette River. This year the money to set up and operate the tree was not in the budget due to the pandemic, so a “go fund me” was set up to raise the needed money; it succeeded, and the tree was again prepared for its lighting on the weekend before Thanksgiving, with the help of volunteers, and with electricity donated by Dr. Dan Beeson, DC. The tree was lit in a ceremony on Thanksgiving evening, and it will remain lit with colorful LED Holiday lights each night until after the start of the New Year.


Local N.E.T. teams developing resources for local emergencies

SMILE Vice President Bob Burkholder, who is also a leader in the Inner Southeast Portland “Neighborhood Emergency Team”, reminds that the Inner Southeast N.E.T. and its 67 trained community members, are drawn from – and also serve – Sellwood, Westmoreland, Eastmoreland, Woodstock, and Brooklyn. This team had their first two actual deployments in September – once after the freak windstorm in mid-month, to stand by over downed trees and power lines so firefighters could remain available for other incidents; and then, at the height of the wildfire evacuations in Clackamas County, to preside over the entire evacuation operation at Clackamas Town Center – an operation that required 150 shifts, covered by 120 N.E.T. volunteers. Sellwood-Westmoreland was the only neighborhood with two N.E.T. members involved in this operation, in which N.E.T. volunteers from the entire City of Portland were participants. The local N.E.T. learned much from this experience, and it has identified many additional specific types of supplies and equipment to make the team more effective in the event of a massive emergency in Portland. One of those is a radio repeater system so the walkie-talkies of team members will be more effective in an emergency, and SMILE has already agreed to fund that. The January General Meeting of SMILE, via ZOOM, at 7:30 p.m. on January 6, is expected to include a segment on the Neighborhood Emergency Team system, for which more volunteers are always welcome; training is provided in classes by PF&R.

Plan continues to let businesses use streets

In support of local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, PBOT has permitted participating businesses to offer restaurant seating in parking spaces (“parking plazas”) along main streets in the Sellwood and Westmoreland business districts, and “side-street plazas” to offer additional business-oriented events and activities for a half block westward of the first few cross streets north of Tacoma Street on S.E. 13th Avenue in Sellwood. PBOT announced in October that the “parking plazas” could be continued until March 31, but the free permit for the additional period would have to be obtained from PBOT by October 31 to continue to operate the “parking plazas” without interruption. It was unclear if the “side-street plazas” were included in the PBOT extension.

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. Scott Kelly, Chair of the SMILE Transportation Committee left that committee in mid-September providing the opportunity for another community member to step up and replace him. In addition, SMILE has been seeking a new representative to the meetings of Southeast Uplift, the city-authorized Neighborhood Coalition serving SMILE and close to a couple dozen other Southeast Portland neighborhoods.


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 2020-21 SMILE BOARD OFFICERS (1-year terms)

President -- Simon  Fulford

Vice President -- Bob Burkholder

Treasurer -- Pat Hainley

Secretary -- Eric Norberg


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


Elaine O'Keefe

Elizabeth Milner

Jim Friscia

Alison Daniel



Priyesh Krishnan

Rhea Smith

Julianna James     [elected in 2020 for unexpired term of Bob Burkholder]

Neal Spinler           [elected in 2020 for unexpired term of Gail Hoffnagle]




Portland, Oregon 97202

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