What is the Portland International Raceway Subcommittee?
The goal of the Noise Review Board’s Portland International Raceway Subcommittee is to:
- Bring community members together for constructive dialogue and further understand the Portland International Raceway’s noise impacts.
- Identify next steps to possible solutions to address community concerns related to noise from the Portland International Raceway.
At the end of these meetings (or in 12 months) the Subcommittee will have completed a thoughtful, and detailed examination of the noise issues and possible ways to mitigate the impacts of noise. The NRB members sitting on the sub-committee will then vote to advance any suggestions to improve the situation to the main Noise Review Board, who then can advance recommendations to city leadership for consideration. It is our hope that the NRB providing recommendations to City Council will include insightful and achievable recommendations for all parties to co-exist in a more harmonious environment.
Why is the Subcommittee Forming?
Portland International Raceway (PIR) has a long and rich history and over the years it has provided substantial entertainment and economic benefits for the community. Portland Parks and Recreation’s is the owner and manager of PIR, and their mission is to provide safe places, facilities, and programs which promote physical, mental, and social activity.
Neighbors living near the track have voiced concern about noise, and other livability issues, generated by PIR. Their concerns are valid and need to be considered. In fact, a 2011 World Health Organization study reported that continual noise sets off the body’s acute stress response, which raises blood pressure and heart rate. Based on community feedback and evidence-based research, the Noise Review Board has recommended forming a Portland International Raceway Subcommittee to learn more about the issues and create productive solutions. Issues pertaining to other areas of city policies and practices other than specifically pertaining to Noise will not be considered by this sub-committee.
PIR’s Noise Levels & the City’s Title 18 Noise Ordinance
Racetracks across the country have been challenged with finding a balance between benefits to community versus protecting nearby residents from negative effects of excessive and prolonged noise.
Over the years, neighbors of PIR have submitted reports about noise levels exceeding the sound levels established in the City’s Noise Ordinance, Title 18 for motor vehicle racing events. The challenge for the Noise Control Office has been clearly identifying the source of the noise complaints. The location of the PIR is also close to many other noise sources such as train tracks, industrial sights, flightpath, traffic, and industrial sites.
Studies and reports have been conducted by the Noise Office and by consultants were hired by the City to better understand the level of noise and impact of noise on neighbors of the racetrack
Timeline of the Subcommittee’s Activities
- May 2021, Noise Review Board Chair Mary Sipe, Civic Life Livability Programs newly selected Supervisor Kareen Perkins and Civic Life’s Noise Officer Paul Van Orden met with a Kenton neighbor to learn about their ongoing complaints and personal experience with the racetrack noise.
- Aug. 11, 2021, During a Noise Review Board meeting, Chair Mary Sipe suggested that a Noise Review Subcommittee be formed to research, analyze, and validate the effectiveness of noise abatement methodologies available.
- Sept. 29, 2021, the Noise Review Board called a special session meeting to focused on the formation of the Noise Review Board Subcommittee, including its scope of work, members, and the selection process for members.
- At the Oct. 13, 2021 Noise Review Board meeting, applications for the Subcommittee were reviewed and Subcommittee members were selected.
Noise Review Board Subcommittee Members
- Mary Sipe, NRB Board Chair/Subcommittee Facilitator
- Mike Raley, NRB Acoustic Sciences Expert
- Derek Trost, NRB Member at large
- Ryan Pittel, Kenton resident, Kenton Neighborhood Association
- Marty Knowles, Kenton resident
- Angela Moos, Kenton resident, Kenton Neighborhood Association
- Jason Henshaw, Portsmouth resident, Friends of PIR Board
- Charles Freeborn, PIR Driver & Instructor, Experience with sound isolation
- Ron Huegli, PIR Manager
- Nichole Gammel, PIR Management Staff
Consultants to Subcommittee
- Kerrie Standlee, Former NRB Chair & Acoustic Engineer
- Mark Wigginton, Former PIR Track Manager
The first meeting is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021
About the Noise Review Board
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 variances for events and construction that may impact a lot of people or take place over a significant period of time. The board is also responsible for working with the Noise Control Program to advise and make recommendations to the Portland City Council on sound-related code and policy decisions. The Noise Review Board holds monthly meetings which currently occur at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month.
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.
About the Portland International Raceway Subcommittee
The Portland International Raceway subcommittee will explore possible solutions and feasible recommendations to address community concerns related to noise from the Portland International Raceway. This subcommittee will consider solutions that allow all impacted parties to co-exist and live within a more harmonious environment. The Subcommittee will produce a report with recommendations to the Noise Review Board, who then will present the final report to City Council if needed.
The makeup of the subcommittee will include:
- Interested Parties (neighbors with "lived experience" or noise subject matter experts)
- PIR Users and Visitors (track users, spectators, and visitors)
- PIR Staff
- Noise Review Board Members