Commentary and more from the west end of the Columbia River Gorge.
My wife and I read the article on the noise at McMenamins Edgefield with interest. We are literally on the “front line” of this issue since we moved to Troutdale in early July. We live in Sedona Park and were excited to be living in such a friendly community with a beautiful view. That is until our first few experiences of “Concerts on the Lawn”. My heart sank and I wondered “What have we gotten ourselves into?” It is unbearable.Coming from the Midwest originally and living on the west side of Portland for a few years, we knew little about Troutdale. We tried to do as much homework as we could in May. The Edgefield website showed only 7 concerts when we checked and our discussions with homeowners in the area verified the “concerts” should not be an issue or at least a minimal disturbance. We have found this not to be true and have confirmed with my neighbors that this year has gotten a lot worse. I have contacted Jeff Ryan, Edgefield’s general manager, about this in late July. He said a lot of pacifying things, but no action to relieve the concerns was exhibited. Here are my primary concerns:Noise Level (not just a bass issue)I read about how decibels are measured in the community and how it is no louder than traffic or a barking dog. That is nonsense if they took the measurements at our home. Our house literally shakes and vibrates during certain concerts depending on the artist. It is not just bass sounds, but volume IS a factor. Even with the windows shut and the TV set a normal level, the concert invades our home like a tsunami. Number of Concerts The seven concerts we saw on their website in May ballooned to 16 concerts by July. Jeff Ryan confirmed they plan to have even more next season. More than once, they hosted two or EVEN THREE concerts per week (not just one per week). They also committed to not hosting concerts on a school night. As you know, they created an exception for BB King last Thursday. How many exceptions are they going to have in the future? Even once a week seems like too many unless the noise issue is resolved.DurationA concert they hosted in late July which featured three bands in one night went from 5:15 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The music was harsh and loud and 5 hours is a long time to be subjected to it or to leave the house. Not only was it loud, but the lyrics contained profane language. Young children who live and play outside on a summer night are listening to this. There are probably freedom of speech issues in trying to regulate this, but I would hope McMenamins would not want to be associated with that image. The majority of the concerts end around 9:45 or 10 p.m. (not 9:30 p.m.) although Steve Wonder ended at 9:15 p.m. Floodlights and Exiting CrowdsI can confirm Chad Tippin’s comment about the flood lights being on late at night plus there is a related issue. Depending on the artist, the crowd which has been listening to loud music all evening, blasts music from their vehicles and screams while waiting to exit the parking area. I don’t think anyone is taking the exit time into consideration. It took over 1 ½ hours for the Steve Wonder concert to clear out and the floodlights were on past midnight. My wife and I get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. year round because our jobs require it. We don’t get to sleep late just because it is summer. Our only option for relief is to leave the house (or put on headphones). My neighbors and we frequently do this. I am upset that I have to rearrange my activities for the evening around Edgefield’s evolving concert schedule. We would like to have the freedom to study, read, and watch TV without having noise forced upon us. We don’t have that freedom today. Please remember these concerts occur during summer so shutting the windows is not a realistic option for many people.As Counselor Ripma stated during the Sept. 11th council meeting, parameters need to be set for next year’s schedule in addition to a noise ordinance. Preferably with residents who are directly affected having input. I applaud the city council and the mayor for taking steps in resolving this with McMenamins. Anyone who thinks this is over blown is not having to endure it. Anything you and the other city council members can do to provide some relief would be appreciated.Sincerely,Michael Mainridge
Councilor Canfield: Thank you for keeping the residents of Troutdale informed of the efforts by McMenamins to minimize the harm they did to us this summer. I appreciate it. I agree fully with mmainridge. The person who wrote that article in Encore Mag obviously failed to interview anyone living in Sedona Park or any other nearby neighborhoods. The noise this past summer was unbearable. From late morning until late in the evening it was impossible to escape the pounding noise. The window shaking noise made staying in our homes unbearable and many of us simply left Troutdale on concert days.Mcmenamins wrecked what could have been a wonderful summer with their frequent all day loud, horrible, and often obscene noise. Frequent requests to McMenamins over the summer for some compassion and relief were ignored and summarily dismissed.Encore Magazine: Walk down 10th and 11th Street and knock on a few doors. Find out what what residents really have to say. You won't find a single person who agrees with that article. You will not find one person who disagrees with mmainridge. City officials: Please, please, take prompt and concrete action to prevent anything as horrible as this from ever again happening to the residents of Troutdale.
Encore magazine caters to the entertainment industry. I found the article interesting, as it expressed a viewpoint from the side of concert promoters.At this week's city council meeting, a representative of McMenamin's came to talk to us during the public comment portion of the meeting. Here's a brief, but not complete summary of his comments. He said that Edgefield wanted to remain a family friendly venue and will not book bands with explicit lyrics in the future.They will require bands to shorten their sound checks, and have them occur closer to the time of the concert.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.Finally, a public meeting will be scheduled in October, where interested neighbors, Edgefield officals, and city representatives can get together to discuss future guidelines or requirements. I don't have a date yet.As soon as I have the full minutes from this meeting, I'll post the Edgefield rep's complete comments.I hear loud and clear the complaints and concerns of the local neighborhood. So does the rest of the city council. I'll do my best to balance your rights to the quiet enjoyment of your property with the right of Edgefield to have their concerts at what is probably one of the better venues in Oregon.I've heard enough complaints from local residents about not getting phone calls returned, or being given nothing but generic responses from Edgefield or the city, to realize this problem has been taken too lightly in the past.It's time for the city council to say, "don't tell me about the labor pains, show me the baby".
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