Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) is one of 95 neighborhood associations recognized by the City of Portland. In our official capacity with the City of Portland, we’re effectively a portion of the volunteer aspect of the City that rolls up into the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
If you live, own property or run a business in the Sellwood-Moreland boundary, you’re a member of SMILE. If you work here, you can act as your employer’s representative at SMILE. You can see the April 3, 2002 copy of our bylaws at the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s site.
We meet twice a month on the first and third Wednesdays from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the SMILE Station at 8210 SE 13th Ave., Portland, OR 97202. It’s called the SMILE Station because it used to be the Sellwood Volunteer Fire Company #1. Ask to see the fire hose drying racks. They’re still there. You can take a look at the calendar for information on the next neighborhood meeting as well as other neighborhood events.
The first Wednesday is our general meeting, where we inform about neighborhood projects such as the bridge, light rail and sewers. We also listen to the needs of neighbors, organize around important issues and plan fun events like Sellwood Sundae in the Park, the Neighborhood Cleanup, the Sellwood Park Concert Series and the Easter Egg Hunt.
One of the ways we fund our activities is by renting out the Historic Oaks Pioneer Church and the SMILE Station for weddings, receptions, baptisms, meetings and special events.
The third Wednesday is our SMILE board meeting (open to the public) where we organize, assign tasks, train on issues and processes and give updates on individual projects and responsibilities.
SMILE is involved with Land Use (making sure that uses of land fall within the City of Portland code) and Zoning (long-term multi-year planning for future uses of the city). We act as a clearing house to help get volunteers serving on Citizen’s Advisory Comittees (CAC’s) for long-term projects like the Sellwood Bridge and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail.
We are a member organization of Southeast Uplift, one of seven neighborhood coalitions serving the different areas of the City of Portland. The neighborhood associations fall under the Mayor of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement ( “ONI” ).
We are not a “Homeowner’s Association.” We don’t care what color you paint your house, or whether you’ve mowed your grass lately. But, in our Land Use capacity, we do get to help review new additions to houses for whether or not they comply with City of Portland code for things like height, property line proximity, overall square footage, permeable area for drainage, etc. It’s very hard to make that part of what SMILE does sound exciting, but if you’re a fan of working with city code, it can be the fun bit.
Meetings are usually really informative. We follow Robert’s Rules of Order and it seems to work out well. It’s a good place to connect with your neighbors and get updates on local issues or regional projects. There are lots of opportunities to get involved and make your neighborhood great.
We hold board elections on the first Wednesday in May at 7:30PM. If you’re civic minded and have a strong community spirit, you may be interested in joining the board. If you’d like to be on the ballot, be sure to tell the SMILE Secretary you’re running for a board position by the first Wednesday in April general meeting at 7:30PM at the SMILE Station. That way, your name will be on the ballot in May. Good Luck.
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