It started out as a merchant promotion, but it has turned into a carnival and a benefit

DAVID F. ASHTON - The special free double-decker bus made it easy to circle through the Westmoreland and Sellwood business districts at Decemberville. A recent annual tradition in the Sellwood and Westmoreland business districts – "Decemberville" – has turned into more than a retail promotion. It's fun – and also a benefit for worthy organizations.

The December first day-long event, organized by the Sellwood-Moreland Business Alliance (SMBA) business association, returned this year with a free movie showing, various foods to try at merchants, a visit with Santa Claus, and more.

DAVID F. ASHTON - The Ryan family visiting a real live Santa Claus at Oodles 4 Kids on S.E. 13th Avenue. They were visiting Sellwood from the Mill Park neighborhood. "More than 75 businesses provided over a hundred activities – including crafts, games, prizes, and sweet treats. And again this year, there was a free double-decker bus on which to ride around the neighborhood," said SMBA organizer Rachel Ginocchio.

Decemberville also raised money for four nonprofit organizations: Raphael House, Westmoreland's Willamette Shelter, the Children's Book Bank, and UNICEF.

After a show presented by the Portland Puppet Museum at SMILE Station, the entertainment continued with Cleveland High School's "ClevelanDAIRES" – who were leading an a-cappella carol sing-along for a happy crowd.

Throughout the large neighborhood, 35 volunteer elves were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly, Ginocchio smiled. "And our merchants say a big 'thank you' to our neighbors, who choose to shop locally!"

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