What is "Noise"?

Illustration of ultrasonic waves

The City of Portland’s Noise Code (Title 18) defines a noise disturbance is any sound which: “(a) injures or endangers the safety or health of humans; or (b) annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

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

  • Amplified sounds (speech, music, events, parades)
  • Commercial and industrial operations
  • Residential HVAC equipment
  • Motor vehicles (in rare cases)
  • Home equipment and powered tools
  • Leaf blowers
  • Construction and construction equipment

To report any of the above types of noise disturbances, please file using the online noise complaint form or email the Noise Program at noise@portlandoregon.gov.

Common Sources of Noise and Decibel Levels per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A diagram showing common sources of noise and decibel levels

The Noise Program does not have the authority to address the following types of noise disturbances:

  • Animal noises from residences (i.e., barking dogs)- Please contact Multnomah County Animal Services at 503-988-7387.
  • Chickens/roosters and urban wildlife- Please contact the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-1174.
  • Aircraft-in-flight (i.e., planes and helicopters)- Please contact the Port of Portland at 503-460-4100.
  • Train activity regulated by Federal Code- Please contact the Federal Railway Administration at 1-800-724-5998.
  • Vehicle noise- Please contact the non-emergency police dispatch at 503-823-3333.
  • Watercraft- Please contact the Harbor Master at 503-241-8283
  • Garbage/recycling noise- Please contact the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-7202.
  • Noise from human voices- Covered under Oregon and Federal Freedom of Speech rights unless voices are so loud as to be considered “disturbing the peace,” in which case, please contact the non-emergency police dispatch at 503-823-3333.
  • Children at play- The City of Portland’s Noise Office does not regulate children and the various recreational equipment they use such as basketball nets or skateboard ramps.
  • Daycare operations- We do not regulate daycare operations and the sounds from children at daycare facilities.
  • Emergency warning devices- Devices used to alert the public of a potential danger such as back up alarms, first response vehicle sirens , garage vehicle exiting warning devices, and similar warning sounds.

Promote the Common Good: Civic Life is building stronger communities by supporting and empowering Portlanders. We think, act, and partner with our communities to better understand and take care of their diverse needs. We invite you to join us in this continuous, much needed work to make our communities safer and more welcoming for all.