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.