Chapter 18.10 Maximum Permissible Sound Levels


18.10.010 Land Use Zones.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 159276, 163608, 164010, 175775 and 184101, effective October 8, 2010.)  Except as specifically provided for elsewhere in this Title, no person shall cause or permit sound to intrude into the property of another person which exceeds the limits set forth below in this Section.  For purposes of this Section, “day hours” shall be between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and “night hours” shall be between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

 

A.  The sound levels established are as set forth in Figure 1 before any adjustments are applied:

 Figure 1 Permissible Sound Levels

B.  Adjustments to Figure 1.

 

1.  During the night hours, the sound levels of Figure 1 shall be reduced 5 dBA.

 

2.  During all hours, the sound levels of Figure 1 shall be decreased 5 dBA for narrow band or steady sound (apply 1 only).

 

3.  The adjustments provided herein are cumulative.

 

C.  If a dwelling unit or noise sensitive receiver is in a nonresidential zone of the City, the nonresidential standard shall normally apply, unless:

 

1.  a complaint is received, and

 

2.  the dwelling unit or noise sensitive receiver type use predates that of the noise source.  In that case, the permissible sound level, as measured at the lot line of the dwelling unit or other noise sensitive receiver, shall be 65 dBA in a commercial zone, and 70 dBA in an employment or industrial zone, each subject to the adjustments of Section 18.10.010 B., F., and G.

 

D.  Nonconforming use: The maximum permissible sound level that may be emitted from any lot containing a nonconforming use shall be the same as that permitted for the most restrictive zone in which the use would be conforming.

 

E.  When a sound source can be identified and its sound measured in more than one zone, each of the appropriate sections shall apply at the boundaries between zones.

 

F.  Impulse sound: Notwithstanding the sound levels of this Section, no person shall cause or permit the operation of an impulsive noise source which has a peak sound pressure level in excess of 100 dB during day hours or 80 dB during night hours.

 

G.  Octave band measurements: When the Noise Control Officer makes a finding that the frequency characteristics of the sound are such that the A‑scale levels specified in Section 18.10.010 are inadequate to protect the public health, welfare, or safety, octave‑band sound pressure level measurements shall be performed.

 

1.  Octave‑band measurements shall be compared to the appropriate values indicated in Figure 2 for equivalent permissible dBA land use values; octave‑band sound pressure in excess of these standards shall be considered evidence of a violation of this Title.

 

Figure 2 Permitted octave band sound pressure levels for given permissible dBA sound levels

 

H.  When property of the receiver is unoccupied, as in the case of any undeveloped lot, sound levels in excess of those specified herein, shall be considered only as a technical violation of the standard.  No citation shall be issued in such instances, nor is corrective action required by the noise source.


18.10.020 Motor Vehicles.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 159276, 164010 and 184101, effective October 8, 2010.)

 

A.  No person shall operate any motor vehicle registered for use on public roads at any time, or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration in such a manner as to violate the maximum permissible sound levels or equipment standards for the category of vehicle as indicated in this Subsection.

 

1.  Vehicles of 10,000 pounds GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) or more, engaged in interstate commerce as regulated by 40 C.F.R., part 202, (1986), the provisions of which are hereby incorporated by reference and three copies of which are on file in the Office of the City Auditor.

 

2.  All other vehicles shall not exceed the vehicular noise emission levels or equipment standards permitted by OAR 340-35‑030 (1) (a) and (c), three copies of which are on file in the Office of the City Auditor and which are hereby adopted by reference.

 

3.  No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a public highway unless it is equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

 

B.  No person shall operate, and no owner of any motor vehicle shall permit to be operated upon any public road, street, or highway, any motor vehicle so as to cause any greater noise or sound than is reasonably necessary for the proper operation of such motor vehicle.

 

1.  No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway with an exhaust system utilizing a cutout, bypass or similar device.

 

2.  No person shall operate a motor vehicle in such a manner as to cause or allow to be emitted squealing, screeching, or other such noise from the tires in contact with the ground because of rapid acceleration or excessive speed around corners or other such reason, except that noise resulting from emergency action to avoid imminent danger shall be exempt from this provision.

 

3.  No person shall operate any motor vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds GCWR, in any residential zone of the City or within 200 feet of any dwelling unit, school, hospital or library, with a dynamic braking device engaged except to avoid imminent danger.

 

C.  No person shall operate and no owner of property shall permit the operation of an off‑road recreational vehicle so as to exceed the noise emission standards of:

 

1.  OAR 340-35‑030 (1)(b) and (d) three copies of which are on file with the Office of the City Auditor, and which are hereby adopted by reference.

 

2.  Section 18.10.020 of this Title.

 

D.  No person shall operate an off‑road recreational vehicle on private or public property unless the property has been designated for off‑road recreational vehicle use pursuant to Title 33, Planning and Zoning of this Code.

 

E.  A police officer, or noise control officer, who finds a vehicle or operator to be in violation of Subsection A of this Section shall issue a citation to the operator.  The citation shall be accompanied by a written notice to the operator specifying the particular subsections found to be in violation.

 

1.  The citation shall require the violator to appear at court to answer for the violation and present evidence that the violation has been corrected.  The date for court appearance on the face of the citation shall not be less than 28 days after the citation was issued.

 

2.  The accompanying written notice shall specify that if the violator presents proof to the clerk of the district court that the vehicle complies with the standards described in OAR 340‑35‑030 (1), (a) and (c) (1983), for the control of motor vehicle noise emissions, three copies of which are on file with the Office of the City Auditor and which are hereby adopted by reference, the citation shall be dismissed.

 

3.  Proof for the purpose of this Section shall be a certificate of compliance issued or approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.  If said certificate is received by the clerk of the district court not less than 5 days prior to the date set for the violator’s appearance before the court, the citation will be dismissed without the necessity of the violator personally appearing before the court.


18.10.030 Home Equipment and Powered Tools.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 159276, 164010, and 175772, effective August 1, 2001.)

 
A. This Section shall apply to powered tools and equipment for home use or lawn and garden maintenance, except leaf blowers (see 18.10.035) or such tools and equipment used as part of a home occupation (see 18.10.030 E.). 
 
B. When used inside a dwelling unit, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., the sound levels generated by such equipment shall not exceed 60 dBA, when measured at the lot line.
 
C. When used outside a dwelling unit, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., the sound levels generated by such equipment shall not exceed the following levels, for equipment of the appropriate class, when measured at a distance of 25 feet (7.6 meters) or at the lot line, whichever is further from the source:
1. Five HP or less, such as, but not limited to, lawnmowers, riding tractors and small garden tools: 80 dBA;

2. More than 5 HP, such as, but not limited to, powered hand tools and snow removal equipment: 85 dBA.

D. When used inside or outside a dwelling between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., the sound levels generated by all such equipment shall not exceed those specified in Section 18.10.010.
 
E. Sound levels generated by tools and equipment as part of a home occupation shall not exceed 50 dBA, as measured at the lot line.

18.10.035 Leaf Blowers.
(Replaced by Ordinance No. 177767, effective September 1, 2003.)

A. For purposes of Section 18.10.035, "leaf blower" means any portable device designed or intended to blow, vacuum, or move leaves or any other type of debris or material by generating a concentrated stream of air. "Leaf blower" shall include any devices or machines that accept vacuum attachments.

B. General operating restrictions.

1. Commercial and other zones. No person shall operate a leaf blower in commercial, industrial, and open space zones, or in the adjoining public right-of-way, between the hours of 9:00 pm and 7:00 am the following morning, seven days a week, unless the leaf blower meets the requirements of Section 18.10.010 A. – F. and H.

2. Residential zones. No person shall operate a leaf blower in residential zones, or in the adjoining public right-of-way, between the hours of 7:00 pm to 7:00 am the following morning, seven days a week.

3. For purposes of Section 18.10.035 B., right-of-way adjoining residential zones and any other zone shall be considered as being within residential zones.

C. Noise restrictions.

1. By August 1, 2006, the Noise Control Officer shall establish a list of the leaf blowers not exceeding a 65 dBA sound level at 50 feet. The Noise Control Officer’s list shall include only leaf blowers certified by a third-party testing laboratory, using American National Standards Institute (ANSI) methodology, ANSI B175.2-2000. Thereafter, the Noise Control Officer shall update the certified list at least annually, or as it is informed of other certified leaf blowers.

2. By August 1, 2006, the Noise Control Officer shall establish a list of the leaf blowers not exceeding a 70 dBA sound level at 50 feet. The Noise Control Officer’s list shall include only leaf blowers certified by a third-party testing laboratory, using American National Standards Institute (ANSI) methodology, ANSI B175.2-2000. Thereafter, the Noise Control Officer shall update the certified list at least annually, or as it is informed of other certified leaf blowers.

3. From March 1 through October 31st of each year, operation of any leaf blower within the City of Portland, which is not on the certified list of 65 dba , or quieter, leaf blowers as developed by the Noise Control Officer, shall constitute a violation of Title 18.

4. From November 1 through February 28th of each year, operation of any leaf blower within the City of Portland, which is not on the certified list of 70 dba , or quieter, leaf blowers as developed by the Noise Control Officer, shall constitute a violation of Title 18.

D. Leaf Blower Use on Large Open Spaces

1. Leaf blowers operated on Open Space land use zones at a distance of 200 feet or greater from the property line shall not exceed a 75 dBA sound level, using American National Standards Institute (ANSI) methodology, ANSI B175.2-2000.


18.10.040 Watercraft.

(Amended by Ord. No. 164010, Mar. 27, 1991.)

 
A. No person shall operate a watercraft between the hours of7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. which exceeds 75 dBA as measured on shore.  Between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., this sound level shall be 65 dBA.
 
B. Exemptions:  normal docking and undocking operations of all vessels, and operations of vessels licensed by the federal government for purposes of commerce on interstate waters are exempted from the provisions of this Section.
 
C. Motorboats shall not be operated on public waterways within the City limits, unless equipped with a functioning underwater exhaust or muffler, or, unless such motorboat has the discharge water continuously piped into the exhaust line.

18.10.050 Motor Vehicle Racing Events.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 159276, 164010, and 175772, effectiveAugust 1, 2001.)

 
A. No person shall operate or permit to be operated any motor vehicle racing within the City except at an area approved by the City.
 
B. All motor vehicle racing shall be conducted in a manner approved by the Noise Control Officer and/or the Noise Review Board, or the City Council.
 
C. For purposes of determining permissible sound levels of motor vehicle racing only, the Portland International Raceway shall be deemed an industrial land use zone of source, which use was in operation before January 1, 1977.  Sound levels generated by any other use of the Portland International Raceway shall meet the standards defined in 18.10.010 A., Figure 1.

18.10.060 Construction Activities and Equipment.

(Amended by Ord. No. 159276 effective Jan. 24, 1987.)

 
A. Maximum sound levels: No person shall operate any equipment or appurtenances thereto in commercial construction activities which exceeds 85 dBA, when measured at 50 feet (15.2 meters) from the source.  This standard shall not apply to trucks (see Section 18.10.020), pile drivers, pavement breakers, scrapers, concrete saws and rock drills.
 
B. Night, weekend, and legal holidays limitation: From 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the following morning, and 6:00 p.m. Saturday to 7:00 a.m. the following Monday, and on legal holidays, the permissible sound levels of Section 18.10.010 shall apply to all construction activities except by variance or for reasons of emergency.  The exempted equipment of Section 18.10.060 A is not exempted during these hours.  For purposes of this Subsection, construction activities on a public road within a zone shall be considered as taking place on private property within that zone.
 
C. The adjustments to permissible sound levels established in Section 18.10.010 B apply to Subsections A and B above.
 
D. All equipment used in commercial activities shall have sound control devices no less effective than those provided on the original equipment, and no equipment shall have an unmuffled exhaust.
 
E. All equipment used in commercial construction activities shall comply with pertinent standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

18.10.070 Parking Lot Sweepers.

(Added by Ordinance No. 175772, effective August 1, 2001.)  From 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., operation of commercial parking lot sweepers shall not exceed the sound levels for day hours set forth in 18.10.010.  After July 1, 2004, operation of commercial parking lot sweepers shall not exceed the sound levels for night hours set forth in 18.10.010 A and 18.10.010 B.