In response to noise and traffic complaints regarding the concerts at McMenamins Edgefield, here's a summary of a meeting that took place yerterday (August 29) between city officials and McMenamins.
Below are the issues that were raised with the McMenamin's staff.
1. Overall loudness of the concerts, primarily over the last couple weeks.
The concerts that occurred during the first part of the year received very few if any complaints. The primary problem has been within the last two to three weeks and that is the result of the type of music that was being performed. Specifically there were several concerts in a row that played a lot of "low end bass". The low end bass that these bands played travels far and wide, even with low decimal readings (which I will cover below). The McMenamin's staff realizes that this is the problem and will not invite these types of bands to play at their property in the future.
Some of the complaints that have been made is about the content of the music, specifically the lyrics. As you know we can not control the lyrics, that falls under freedom of speech. With that said, McMenamins does not want to have that type of music played at their property and will not have those type of bands play in the future. They would like the concerts to be a "family" atmosphere.
2. Music being played in the afternoons.
What we learned yesterday is that the technicians were playing pre-recorded (CD's) to conduct sound checks for the band. The problem was the type of music being played, and McMenamins had put a stop to the type of music that the bands were playing during the sound checks. As of yesterday McMenamins has already contacted Stevie Wonder and BB King and told them that they have a shorter period of time, one hour, to conduct their sound test and this will be something that McMenamins will add into the contract for next year.
3. The number of concerts playing per year.
Last year there were five concerts, because they started a little late in the season to get bands booked. This is their first full year of concerts. We have not agreed on a number of concerts that they can have during the year, however we will be discussing this for next year. McMenamins would like to have one concert a week if that is possible. We asked if it was possible to have the concerts primarily on the weekend and McMenamins said that they would work on that, however it really depends on the tour schedule of the performers.
4. Lights in the parking lot.
McMenamins said that was an oversight having the lights on that late and they will correct that problem.
Regarding the issue of traffic, the city told them that for next year we need to have a different traffic management plan which could include detours and rerouting traffic. Of course this will have to be approved by ODOT, Multnomah County, the City of Wood Village and the City of Troutdale.
6. Other issues discussed.
McMenamins is very concerned, as we are, about the impact on the community as a result of these concerts. Something that they are planning for next year are adult contemporary music and not any "low end bass" bands. They are looking at installing sound netting to reduce the amount of sound travel. They are looking at changing the direction of the stage, however this is more complicated than it sounds.
McMenamins is willing and looking forward to holding a public meeting at their facility to hear the concerns of the community and try to address those concerns.
McMenamins has three employees that go around the neighborhoods during the concerts and take decimal sound readings throughout the concerts, we have done that also.
Another issue was concert after the concert. What occurred three times this year was the would have a concert in the Blackberry Hall after the normal concert and that music was traveling. McMenamins has agreed not to have any more concerts after the primary concert.
McMenamins also told us that they would work with the people who rent the Blackberry Hall for weddings etc. to keep the doors closed to avoid noise complaints.
to 62 The decibel readings that Troutdale Police Sergeant Wendland took on August 28th were 54 to 62 dbs. Sergeant Wendland noted that a barking dog was at 68 dbs, and passing traffic was at 66 dbs. Again, the issue with the most recent concerts has been the "low end bass" which will not register very high on the decimal reader.
Troutdale Police Chief David Nelson has obtained about 12 different noise ordinances from different cities and we will be working on changing our current noise ordinance, not only for the concerts but also for neighborhood issues.
(Thanks very much to Chief Nelson for providing this update and also for arranging the decibel readings on August 28.)
Feel free to leave comments on this blog, or e-mail me directly: robert(AT)robertcanfield(DOT)com.