Noise complaints from an outdoor venue such as McMenamins are not uncommon. From Texas, check out this Austin Chronicle article about that city's struggle with the concert noise issue. Here's an excerpt from that article:
"While the latest debate over how loud live music in Austin can be before it infringes on the rights of property owners has been fraught with spin control, crisis management, and name-calling, it boils down to three distinct agendas: downtown residents and hotels upset with noise disruptions from live music; venue operators looking to present shows at a volume that pleases both artists and audience; and a local police department that maintains they're caught in the middle by a current noise ordinance that's unenforceable. At the heart of it all lies the future of downtown Austin."
Troutdale's current noise ordinance is pretty generic. Here's the essential piece of our noise ordinance:
8.24.035 Unreasonable noises prohibited.No person shall make, assist in making, permit or allow to continue any unreasonable noise in the city. A noise is unreasonable when the noise is made between the hours of ten p.m. and seven a.m.; the noise is plainly audible within a noise sensitive unit that is not the source of the noise; and the noise is abnormally high or low. (Ord. 750 § 6 Att. E (part), 2004)
Right now, any unreasonable noise is ok, as long as it occurs between 7am and 10pm. What are the prohibited unreasonable noises? The next part of the noise code spells it out:
8.24.040 Specific noises prohibited.A. The following acts are presumed unreasonable noises in violation of this chapter:
1. The use, operation or playing of any radio, television, phonograph, compact disc player, tape player, loudspeaker, musical instrument, or other similar machine or device that is used for the production of noise between the hours of ten p.m. and seven a.m. when the noise is plainly audible within a noise sensitive unit that is not the source of the noise;
2. The loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, or similar objects between the hours of ten p.m. and seven a.m. when the noise is plainly audible within a noise sensitive unit that is not the source of the noise;
3. The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle, except as a danger signal;
4. The use of any automobile, motorcycle or other kind of vehicle in a manner that creates loud grating, grinding, revving, rattling or other similar noise;
5. The use of exhaust brakes, except when used in an emergency to stop or slow a vehicle so as to avoid a collision;
6. The discharging of exhaust from any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, motor boat, motorcycle or motor vehicle except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises;
7. The making of, or assisting with the making of, noise on a public beach or in a public park when the noise is plainly audible within a noise sensitive unit that is not the source of the noise and is not authorized pursuant to a permit;
8. The use of construction, street work, street repair, drilling or demolition tools or equipment during the following hours: Monday through Friday before seven a.m. or after nine p.m., Saturdays before eight a.m. or after seven p.m. and Sundays before ten a.m. or after seven p.m.;
9. The use of domestic power tools during the hours of ten p.m. and seven a.m.;
10. Noise created by animals when it violates the standards adopted by Multnomah County in Chapter 13 of the Multnomah County Code. See Chapter 6.04 of the Troutdale Municipal Code.
B. The enumeration of unreasonable noises in subsection A of this section shall not limit the city from investigating and declaring other noises unreasonable as provided for in Section 8.24.035 of this chapter. (Ord. 750 § 6 Att. E (part), 2004)
So there you have it. According to our city code, there's nothing wrong with extremely loud concerts at McMenamins Edgefield between 7am and 10pm. But what about the residences who literally live next door to Edgfield? Is it ok for them to be subjected to this excessive, but legal concert noise? Methinks probably not.
So what's the solution? We could make our noise ordinance more restrictive. We could ban loud concerts. We could keep the noise ordinance as is. Or some solution in between these basic options.
What do I think? We need to refine our noise ordinance, but in a way that protects the interests of the residential neighbors, Edgefield, and the city. An impossible task, perhaps? My solution would be as follows: before next summer's concert season, the city should require that McMenamin's representatives get together with their residential neighbors near Edgefield. Both sides must come to a satisfactory agreement regarding noise levels, durations, and times before any concerts are permitted.
The city should only become involved if the parties cannot come to agreement. At that point, the decision making would turn political, which I fear would result in no one being satisfied. If it comes to that, the city council could change its noise ordinance into something much more restrictive and technical, with limits on decibel levels at certain ranges and certain distances, with expensive monitoring equipment, staff time, fines for violators, the works. I'd hate to see it come to that.
I have witnessed another issue regarding the increasingly popular Edgefield concerts: The massive traffic jams and gridlock on NE Halsey before and after the concerts. Halsey is a two-lane road at Edgefield. If there were a medical emergency, fire, or other catastrophe in the area during the concert traffic gridlock, how would police/fire or other first responders get there? Fire trucks don't travel down roadside ditches very well. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
I only know the traffic situation from what I've personally seen. Perhaps there is a traffic management plan in place, I don't know. I'll check with city staff on this and then discuss it further here.