2021: Portland's Noisiest Year Ever

News Article
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Lively public festivals, an energetic music scene, and spirited sporting events all help to make Portland a vibrant city. As Portland’s population grows, it is more and more important to deal with environmental health issues like noise pollution equitably. With more people working, learning, and playing from home, the amount of noise they make and hear at home has gone up. Data from Civic Life’s Noise Program shows that 2021 was Portland’s noisiest year ever.

Each year, from March to September, the Noise Program sees a big rise in the number of complaints they get as the warmer weather brings more people outside and more people open up their windows to enjoy the breeze. With homes and businesses opening up to enjoy the weather, please be mindful of neighbors when starting your home renovation, opening outdoor seating for your business, or having friends over for a party.

A dotted line graph plotting the number of noise complaints in 2020 and 2021. The line for 2021 is higher for every month except August and October.

The more complaints the Noise Program gets, the longer it takes for them to be processed. Here are some tips to help your complaint get processed correctly:

  • Check the list of which cases the Noise Program can help with. If your complaint is not covered, check the list of other resources.
  • Sometimes a neighbor will have a one-time event with loud noise, and it never happens again. Please only file a complaint if the noise is an ongoing problem.
  • We do not accept anonymous complaints. We require your name, and email or phone number so we can contact you. We keep this info confidential.
  • When filing a complaint about construction, please try to find out who is doing the work (PBOT, BES, Water, utilities) to help us contact them sooner.

You can visit the Noise Program website to learn more about getting a noise variance for your event and when to make a complaint.