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It takes two neighborhoods and two organizations to put on THIS long-running Easter Egg Hunt!

DAVID F. ASHTON - Kids were eagerly poised at the start of the SMILE Easter Egg Hunt - and then the signal was given and they were off, scooping up candy in Westmoreland Park. A decades-long tradition continued at exactly 10 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, March 31, at the south end of Westmoreland Park. It was the 2018 edition of the SMILE Easter Egg Hunt.

This year's brief-yet-joyfully-intense event didn't disappoint the many families who came early to visit with the Easter Bunny and get a carrot.

At the same time, about 15 members with the Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club raked the grassy tree-shaded area just west of Sckavone Field and staked off the "hunt" areas, before scattering boxes of foil-covered chocolate Easter Eggs purchased by SMILE, the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhood association. New Seasons Market provided the fresh carrots for the Easter Bunny to give away.

"We like being involved with this, because it helps everybody when you give a little bit of service and get so much in return," said Oaks Bottom Lions Club President Stella Brown. "Giving is something that we can do, and we appreciate the opportunity to give our service. And we're rewarded by seeing the appreciation and joy on the childrens' faces."

With timer in hand, Brown and volunteers counted down to the start of the hunt at 10 a.m., and, at the signal, kids were "off and running" in search of treats amongst the blades of grass.

With cell phones and cameras in hand, parents photographed their youngsters as they snatched up handfuls of candy.

In just under two minutes – perhaps a new record for the older kids! – their marked area was picked clean. The toddlers took a little longer in their zone, but soon the lawn was back in its pristine state, with not an Easter Egg in sight.

The brevity of the event didn't diminish the joy of the participating youth, who left the area with baskets, bags, and buckets full of candy eggs. Afterward, SMILE thanked the Reed Neighborhood Association for its help last year, and the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association for their help this year, in donating their right to use a city park for one event without charge – to avoid a fee of hundreds of dollars from the Portland Parks Department for the use of Westmoreland Park for this five-minute-long family event!

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