'SMILE Christmas Tree' again lit by volunteers
Bright colorful lights again glow on the "SMILE Christmas Tree" – a privately owned tree perched on the edge of Oaks Bottom Bluff along S.E. 13th Avenue in Westmoreland. The lighting is provided by the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association, SMILE, and the electric power is contributed by Dr. Dan Beeson at nearby Beeson Chiropractic.
"Thanks to the generosity of neighbors and friends, these new lights are working well; the 17 strands, making a total of 850 brilliantly colored LED lights, look almost new, as we're hanging them again this year," remarked perennial volunteer Bruce Heiberg, on "decorating day" this year, November 23.
Representing his family, Matt Hainley took a brief break to say about 20 volunteers helped unpack and place the lights.
"Along with the Hainley family, and volunteers with SMILE, we've been doing this for about 30 years now; having started 'up the block'," said Kris Heiberg. The original tree chosen still stands in the pocket park just south of Wilhelm's Portland Memorial. "Volunteers get together and do this because it's both a traditional and a delightful thing to do for our community; it helps make feelings of togetherness in our neighborhoods."
All of the volunteers expressed thanks to Emily and Isaac Edwards for the use of their tree – it's located on their privately-owned property across from their home, and they donate its use "for the enjoyment of the entire community".
On the evening after Thanksgiving Day, November 29, some 60 people gathered in the cold before the tree to sing a couple of carols before officially illuminating it for the season. The burst of colored light drew "ooohs" and "aaahs" from those present. It will be shining past January 1 into the New Year.
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