The Oaks Bottom Overlook project is an effort by community volunteers to transform a neglected public area along the curve at SE Bybee Boulevard and 13th Avenue into a safe and ecologically healthy neighborhood spot that would enhance appreciation of the area’s scenic viewpoints, augment habitat restoration work completed on the bluffs, and educate the public about Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, which the site overlooks. It would be managed by the community through the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE), the area’s neighborhood association.

Since early 2013, volunteers within the SMILE Stewardship of Natural Amenities Committee (SNAC) have been working to develop a vision for what this space could look like. Join us on Tuesday April 22nd to learn about the proposed design and share your feedback!


  • Improve habitat for native plants and wildlife
  • Promote appreciation of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
  • Enhance the viewshed opportunities for the public
  • Increase safety along the edge of the bluff
  • Develop or strengthen relationships between SMILE and project partners
  • Create ongoing opportunities for community involvement and environmental education
A concept collage for the Oaks Bottom Overlook project

A concept collage for the Oaks Bottom Overlook project



Fencing – Rustic cedar fencing would be placed along the western perimeter of the site to define the space, increase public safety along the edge of the bluff, and visually connect the area to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Sellwood Park and Sellwood Riverfront Park by mimicking the fencing used there.

Landscaping – Native plants, particularly from the Oregon white oak plant community found in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, will be planted on the site along the inside of the guardrail to create a pollinator garden that will support birds, bees and butterflies. This project will work toward Backyard Habitat certification in an effort to showcase this exemplary program.

Educational kiosk – A simple and attractive two-panel wooden kiosk with a hinged door and window would feature both a permanent and dynamic display. One panel would feature permanent signage about Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge that includes the neighborhood’s historic role in winning protection for it as the City’s first wildlife refuge. The other panel would be a dynamic display focused on the ecological benefits and inhabitants of the Refuge. This panel would provide ongoing opportunities for students, artists and others to showcase artwork and science projects related to Oaks Bottom.

Picnic table/s – Two beautiful round cedar tables for picnicking and educational activities have been constructed as part of an Eagle Scout project and will be installed in October. This feature will serve the community, Farmers Market patrons and provide a unique new outdoor learning space that may be utilized by local science educators who are incorporating Oaks Bottom into their curriculum.

Trash receptacle – A concrete “pebble stone” trash receptacle has been placed on the site. Longtime community members and owners of Heiberg Garbage and Recycling have generously offered to provide trash pickup.

The existing memorial bench on the site has been restored. Stop by and take a look!


  • The nearly 125 community members who have signed our letter of support!
  • ADX Portland
  • The Boys and Girls Club (Sellwood)
  • Boy Scout Troop #351
  • Brown Lumber
  • Circa Renovation
  • Do It Best
  • Hankins True Value Hardware
  • Heiberg Garbage and Recycling
  • Huntington + Kiest Landscape Architects
  • International Wood Products
  • Llewellyn Elementary School
  • McCoy Millwork
  • Mike Geyer
  • Miller Paint
  • Moreland Farmers Market
  • Moreland True Value Hardware
  • Parr Lumber
  • Remodeling NW
  • Sellwood-Moreland Business Alliance
  • Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League
  • Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Funeral Home


Do you have skills, materials or financial support to lend to this project? Are you a business who wants to endorse it? We want to hear from you! Here are some ways to get involved.

  • Complete our volunteer form so we can match you with the opportunities that fit what you have to offer.
  • Send a tax-deductible donation in any amount to the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) at 8210 SE 13th Avenue, Portland Oregon, 97202. Be sure to note that your gift is for the Oaks Bottom Overlook project.
  • Join the SMILE Stewardship of Natural Amenities Committee (SNAC). This volunteer-driven ad-hoc committee is made up of Sellwood-Moreland neighbors that share an interest in the addressing issues and opportunities related to the natural spaces within our neighborhood. You can join the SNAC listserve here. We also invite you to attend one of our monthly first Wednesday meetings from 6-7:15 PM at the SMILE Station (8210 SE 13th Ave).

 Come on out to meet your neighbors and have some fun!

CONTACT US: Want to contact us about this project? Put ‘Oaks Bottom Overlook’ in the subject line and e-mail