1976 Viewpoints Newsletter

With Stay-at-Home time on our hands, we’ve had fun (would you believe) perusing historic SWHRL records and newsletters, going back to its genesis in 1969. Many issues from the early 70’s were familiar – there was discussion of the pros and cons of cluster housing & planned unit development with preservation of natural resource tracts. Many favored spaced out single family homes on large lots (R-20 zoning), and resisted city efforts to up zone certain properties – for instance one for Humphrey Park.

SWHRL plans to catalogue, index and hopefully scan these papers, especially the various land use issues. These old newsletters document both a continuity and a culture shift within SWHRL and we find them fascinating to look through.


The SWHRL Neighborhood Association is celebrating its 50th birthday this year!

Neighbors surrounding the Marquam ravine founded the non-profit Portland Heights Preservation League on July 28, 1969, to fight a developer’s proposed planned unit development in the ravine.

SWHRL was the first of the SW Portland neighborhood associations and it pre-dates the creation of the City’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, now Civic Life. SWHRL remained an independent neighborhood association until 2007, when it voted to join the SWNI (SW Neighborhoods Inc.) coalition as its 17th neighborhood association.

SWHRL is proud of its many accomplishments over the past half a century. Highlights include:

Community forums

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Aging in place & resources
  • Tree forum with elder storytelling
  • Candidates and ballot measures
  • Neighborhood visioning & planning
  • SWIM trails workshop


Community events

  • Historic trolley walk
  • Film nights with neighbor documentarian
  • Annual picnics
  • Vista Spring Restoration & Beautification Project


Land Use responses

  • Stroheckers
  • Responses & testimony on numerous single & multi-family development proposals



  • SWIM trails candidates submitted to City
  • Testimony on transportation priorities
  • Bike lane on SW Patton
  • Adjustment of traffic lights at foot of SW Broadway
  • Regular pleas to improve bus service


And some people may remember the "border wars." ONI was born as the Office of Neighborhood Associations, and it drew up the map showing neighborhood association boundaries, it allowed what SWHRL felt was a “territory grab” by Bridlemile, Hillsdale and Homestead. SWHRL sued and won a settlement from the City of $10,002 plus $22,000 in attorney fees. Boundary overlaps were peacefully negotiated by 2005, thanks in large part to then SWHRL President Jim Thayer.

SWHRL remained an independent neighborhood association until 2007, when it voted to join the SWNI (SW Neighborhoods Inc.) coalition as its 17th neighborhood association. 

Today, SWHRL is a proud and active SW Neighborhoods coalition participant, we work cooperatively with our neighboring associations, and support Portland’s unique neighborhood association system. 


If you have stories and photos to contribute, please contact Nancy Seton at president@swhrl.org. See stories of some fascinating neighbors, including Michael Munk, author of "The Portland Red Guide," "Red" as in "pinkos"; and Steven Josefsberg, former photography gallery owner, whose father Milt wrote and produced for Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, All in the Family.