Street Musician Agreement Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Street Musician Agreement?
The Street Musician Agreement (SMA) was created in 1994 by a coalition of street musicians, local businesses, government officials, and residents in an effort to maintain livability in Downtown Portland, while encouraging music on Downtown’s vibrant streets.
What parts of town does the SMA apply to?
The SMA only applies to Downtown Portland. This includes the area encompassed by I-405, the Willamette River, and West Burnside Street.
What are the guidelines that musicians should follow as a part of the agreement?
According to the agreement, musicians should:
- Attempt to space themselves a minimum of one block apart;
- Rotate their location every 60 minutes (not including set up and take down time) to allow for everyone to enjoy prime locations;
- Return to a location twice in one day after a 60 minute break, if desired; and
- Comply with Portland’s Noise Control ordinance, which states that noise should not be audible more than 100 feet away in any direction (including vertical)
What are the guidelines that the Downtown retail, business, and residential community should follow as a part of the agreement?
According to the agreement, the retail, business, and residential community should:
- Not interrupt a musician in the middle of a number;
- Be professional and courteous when speaking to a musician and not resort to threats or intimidation; and
- Abide by the Police or mediator in the event of a dispute with a street musician.
If someone violates a part of the SMA, is this is a violation?
No. The only enforceable law is the Noise Ordinance, which states that a noise source cannot be audible more than 100 feet away. The remainder of the agreement is community guidelines.
Who can enforce the Noise Ordinance?
Only Portland Police officers and the City of Portland’s Noise Control officer may enforce the Noise Ordinance and issue violations.
Where can I get connected to the street musician and street performer community in Portland?
PDX Busk (http://pdxbusk.wordpress.com/ ) is a great resource for musicians and performers that live in Portland or are just traveling through Portland. Their mission is, “to create community through music, musicians and other street performers.” Additionally, The Big Busk, a music festival for Downtown Portland, will take place this year on July 16, 2011. For more information on this event, visit their website at http://thebigbusk.info/
Where can I find a copy of the agreement?
The full agreement can be found here: http://www.portlandonline.com/fritz/index.cfm?c=49205&a=464617