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About the Noise Program

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About our program

As Portland’s population grows, the need to equitably address environmental health issues like noise pollution is increasingly important. The Noise Program supports the city’s lively spirit, safety, and health by reviewing requests for City noise code variances for exciting and essential events — like music festivals, the Portland Marathon, and construction— and educates the public on the health issue of urban noise pollution by enforcing the City’s Noise Code, Title 18.

We live in a vibrant city with many events. Naturally, some of the events happening around Portland are expected to be louder than our Noise Code allows. When this happens, the Noise Program issues a noise variance to allow the event to take place by following certain terms. Some of the many variance requests we process each year include music events like the Rose Festival, the Waterfront Blues Festival, the Oregon Humane Society's Doggie Dash, the Portland Marathon, and numerous weddings in our neighborhood parks.

We also process many construction-related noise code variance requests, which allows construction to take place outside of normal hours. Our work extends to partnering with various agencies involved in the repair and replacement of critical infrastructure like sewers, bridges, and roads. This collaboration aims to strike a balance between ensuring residents' rest, addressing safety concerns, and mitigating traffic disruptions. Additionally, we cooperate with commercial construction projects, contributing to alleviating housing shortages and facilitating an environment for businesses to flourish.
 

Noise Program brochure

Download the Noise Program's brochure:

Supporting Portland businesses as they reopen

Many businesses have been prioritizing the health of their employees and customers by offering alternative outdoor experiences. These new changes may cause neighbors to hear more noise during operating hours. To help businesses run successfully and maintain goodwill with neighbors, we want to provide important information about the City of Portland’s noise code. To learn more please read our brochure:

The Noise Program's primary focus

Our program's primary focus is to address and educate the public on the following types of noise disturbances within Portland city limits:

  • Amplified sounds (music, events, parades, amplified announcements)
  • Commercial and industrial operations
  • HVAC equipment
  • Motor vehicles (only when incidents are tied to a specific property or location, not mobile noise issues)
  • Home equipment and powered tools
  • Leaf blowers
  • Construction and construction equipment

To report any of these types of noise disturbances, please file a complaint using the online noise complaint form.

We have environmental staffing to work on noise pollution from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Night investigations are only conducted after all other options to resolve a case have failed. The Noise Program does not have the staffing levels to function as a nighttime first-response agency. Our environmental cases require us to build a comprehensive case before taking further action. If the sound issue continues to exceed permitted sound levels, we will collaborate with you to gather facts and determine the next steps to be taken.

Learn more about applying for a noise variance

Learn more about submitting a noise concern and what is and is not covered under the City’s Noise Code

Get involved!

The Noise Review Board works to improve neighborhood livability by striking a balance between sound-generating activities related to construction and special events, and the desire for livable communities. The board reviews applications for noise variance permits for large events and construction that impact a lot of people and take place over a long period of time. The board also works with the Noise Program to advise and make recommendations to the Portland City Council on sound-related code and policy decisions. The Noise Review Board holds meetings on the second Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m.

The board is comprised of five members — three community member-at-large positions, a representative from the construction industry, and a professional in the field of acoustics. Volunteers serve on the Noise Review Board for three-year terms and may serve a maximum of two terms. All meetings are open to the public and have time available for public comment. Find out more about the Noise Review Board here.
 

Contact us

  • Email us at noise@portlandoregon.gov
  • Call us Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., at 503-823-7350
  • Mailing address: 1900 SW 4th Ave., Suite 5000, Portland, OR 97201

You can schedule appointments to talk with us about:

  • Applying for a noise variance
  • Preparing a noise variance application for review by the Noise Review Board
  • Discussing a submitted application for a noise variance (for the applicant only)

You can also schedule an appointment to come to our office to borrow a sound level meter to measure noise at a particular location or event. Please note: If you do not find an appointment slot for a sound level meter pickup in our online booking system, it means that all devices are currently checked out. Please check back within two weeks.

Schedule an appointment with the Noise Program