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Southwest Hills Residential League

Upcoming Event: Second Annual Portland Garden Tour | WEST

Sunday, September 13, 2015, 11:00am-4:00pm
You will have the rare treat of visiting the gardens of Jane Platt, Frances Barnes, Gwyneth Booth, Cynthia Woodyard and Anne Munch!
All proceeds benefit Ainsworth Elementary school.

Annual SWHRL Picnic & Live Jazz Event at Strohecker’s a Success

We had a great turnout of at least 150 neighbors at the SWHRL picnic Sunday, August 16, where we enjoyed live music by acclaimed local jazz ensemble “The Includers,” face painting by local Girl Scout Troop 45065, and SWHRL Information booths including:

  • Emergency Preparedness with hand outs and a sign-up sheet for those interested in neighborhood emergency preparedness events and training. This is a useful resource we’ll be using to build our community preparedness:

  • SWHRL History table anchored by neighborhood historian Jim Breithaupt. His stories of notable SWHRL residents and their homes are available on the SWHRL website. Copies of The Portland Red Guide, local writer Michael Munk’s history of Portland’s socialist and communist era were available for sale. Mike Munk’s short history of Council Crest and its colorful residents is available by email on request. Contact Contact Jim if you have stories and photos to share:
    Jim Breithaupt:   (503) 688-9174

New Local Publication:

Eleni Kehagiaras is excited to announce the upcoming release of a NEW social magazine for the Portland Heights neighborhood. Residents can expect to see it in their mailbox October 2015. It will be written entirely by Portland Heights residents about their kids, pets, homes, businesses, events, recipes, and more. For more info or to get involved email Eleni, Portland Heights Living Publisher, at

Washington Park Reservoirs Redevelopment – LU 15-169691 HR

The Historic Landmarks Commission held a hearing on August 10, 2015 to consider the Portland Water Bureau’s proposal for historic preservation, rehabilitation, and construction of a covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, and walkways. These features will offer the public enhanced access to the new surface water features and classically-designed gatehouses, dams, and related structures. For details see:
Nancy Seton, SWHRL President, testified in support of the project, saying it would be a beautiful public asset for the surrounding neighborhoods. The site is currently not inviting with its empty concrete reservoir, but with the addition of reflective ponds, walking paths, restored habitat and plantings, benches, historic lighting, it would be an attractive destination. She expressed puzzlement at the opposition of Eastside Portland residents to this proposal, whereas she’s only heard support from nearby residents. Eastside opponents cite fears about water contaminants with closed reservoir systems, but others refute this.
Catherine Howells, adjunct professor at PSU, where she teaches a course on Portland's drinking water, says: “The single greatest sources of contamination in our drinking water system come from the open reservoirs on Mt. Tabor and Washington Park. The reservoirs are old and out-of-date when it comes to maintaining water quality for the citizens of Portland.  These reservoirs do not have additional water treatment for the water once they leave the reservoirs.  This means that what you see is what you drink.  This is a problem for ensuring there is no further contamination of the reservoirs from wildlife, birds, and humans throwing stuff into the reservoirs (yes, people even throw full dog poop bags into the reservoirs). The EPA has mandated that all open reservoirs that hold already treated water must be buried or have further water treatment to ensure no further contamination (this rule is called LT2).  Some folks have argued (and continue to believe) that sunlight cleans the water and therefore the open reservoirs are fine.  Sunlight (on a good day in Portland) penetrates perhaps 8 inches, the water in our open reservoirs is piped to our homes from a depth of at least 20 feet. Sunlight also helps to heat up the water, so more bacteria can grow.  It is time to bury these reservoirs.”

Updating SWHRL Bylaws

We are in the process of updating the 2008 SWHRL Bylaws to bring them into synch with the city's 2015 template for neighborhood Bylaws. The new SWHRL amended Bylaws will need to be approved by a majority of SWHRL members at two subsequent membership meetings - if the draft is ready in time, at the October 2015 and January 2016 general meetings. Since it's not practical to read the complete Bylaws at the meetings, we ask that members review the draft (once it's ready and posted here) prior to the meetings where it will be considered. The existing 2008 SWHRL Bylaws and the new Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) template are available on Portland's website:

Volunteers Welcome: SWHRL "Invasives to Natives" Restoration Project to Beautify Corner at SW Vista Ave. at SW Spring Street

We’ve been made great progress during the winter and spring, removing invasive, non-native species from the City’s right of way at the corner of SW Vista and Spring Street. The City did have to take down one dying, hazardous big leaf maple tree, so unfortunately we lost some shade canopy, but we’ll cope. Next wet season we’ll start replanting with native and hardy plants. To join future work parties, contact SWHRL: or Nancy Seton at 503-224-3840 to get on the email notification list. All ages - students, parents, Boy/Girl Scouts, and any others welcome. This will be a beautiful spot we can be proud of!

At our SWHRL May annual meeting on May 20, 2015:

  • SWHRL President Nancy Seton highlighted SWHRL neighborhood activities in “Year in Review – 2014-15,” and the proposed SWHRL “To-Do List,” our action items for 2015-16. See attachments below, for your review and comments.

  • We discussed the status of the Strohecker’s market, recently purchased by Bales Thriftway. The new owners want to make the market successful: they have already taken steps to improve the produce and meat sections, and will review pricing. SWHRL has set up a task force to find ways to support and enhance the market. Tell us what would persuade you to shop there more often, and we’ll pass it on. Help the market thrive!

  • Bob Stacey, Metro Councilor, talked to the membership about issues Metro deals with, including regional land use and transportation planning (e.g. the SW Corridor Plan/high speed transit), green spaces/parks, recycling, and the zoo. 


Join Southwest Hills for neighborhood news:

Look for the Southwest Hills Moms Group and women's biking group on social networking site NextDoor NextDoor is a great way to find out what is happening in our area and connect with neighbors. The more of us who use it, the better tool it becomes.


SW Hills Residential League Board meets the third Wednesday of every month. The annual General Membership meeting is held the third Wednesday in May, and other full membership meetings are in January and October. In lieu of an August meeting, we have a neighborhood picnic.
*Please note: In lieu of our July 15 Board meeting, we went instead to hear "Stolen Sweets" at the free concert in Willamette Park at South Waterfront, Wednesday, July 15.
Contact: President Nancy Seton, View MEETING DATES AND LOCATION

Join Our List!

Help us build a strong community by subscribing to the SWHRL e-newsletter and forwarding it to your neighbors. We do not share email addresses and you can unsubscribe easily by clicking a link provided in each newsletter.


President: Nancy Seton,
Vice President: Sean Baioni
Treasurer: Kelly Reece,
Secretary: Margaret Gossage




SWHRL Year in Review 2014-15211.83 KB
SWHRL To Do List 2015-16199.64 KB