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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Train whistles disturbing your sleep?

If you live in the Pearl District, the City of Portland will fix your problem, and pay for it out of your property taxes. If you live in a different Portland neighborhood, try these.

Comments (26)

Huh, kind of like moving in near the airport, race track, freeway, busy dock, etc and then complaining about the noise. Guess what folks! You live in a city, they are noisy places!

Do you think the people that live near the public rail systems in larger cities get this kind of special treatment? Oh and many of those rail systems are used quite a bit more often than the mostly freight traffic that runs along those lines. Also some of those rail systems run much closer to the buildings.

Not to say it wouldn't bug me, but then I'd have to make a decision on whether to stay and put up with the noise or move. Keep this in mind though, I lived in a house on SE Stark between 118th and 122nd. Stark street in that area is typically used by the police, fire and ambulance drivers thanks to the excellent access to freeways and the Adventist hospital nearby. So pretty much all night, especially on the weekends, we'd get some form of "blues and two's" complete with sirens all at speed. Still managed to get a good nights sleep most nights.

A friend lives in a condo on the Vancouver side of the river, opposite PDX, complete with an active railroad track running about 200ft from his front door. He's been there long enough to know when to expect the trains. Obviously, he knew it was there when he moved in, but he wanted the view and decent access to the river. Doesn't seem to bother he or his neighbors one bit.

I live a little east and up the hill from the Brooklyn Yard. I can hear the trains at night and do not mind them at all, but then I subscribe to the George Bailey theory that the most exciting sounds in the world are "Anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles." That said, when the wife and I were looking at houses we looked at a lovely, affordable, new-built craftsman that we passed on because it sat about 100 feet off the approach line to the Brooklyn Yard.

My point, like Swede, is that if you are dumb enough to buy a place, especially an over-priced condo, without checking out the neighborhood you have no place complaining about it. And I can't even imagine what kind of mental defecit causes a person to buy a place next to an active train line and not realize they might hear a lot of train noises. You pay your money, you take your chances. That's how it goes folks.

Everyone has different tolerance levels for noise so the "it doesn't bother me so it shouldn't bother you" argument does not go very far.

I agree with you about cities -- they are noisy places and you should get out it your tolerance level is below the threshold.

In my corner of SE we get (5) garbage trucks a day beginning at 4:30. Most of the pickups happen right outside our bedroom window. Then there are the endless delivery, ups, and fed ex trucks and the elevator company next door. Finally there is the endless drunken idiot laughter and loud talk and "park and bark" dogs which come from the bar on either corner.

Oh and the gay bar at the end of the street likes to hold block parties without a permit or noise variance. I tried to fight that one because they broke the law, but the city departments responsible for issuing such permits kept passing the buck and the police are useless in this town so I gave up.

This all takes place on the 100 yards of 14th street between Belmont & Morrison.

Trains whistles aside...what about your neighbors? What if your neighbor has (5) Chihuahua's he likes to let out at 5:30 in the morning (true story)? Is that another "you pay your money and take your chances" event?

The train whistles are an audible reminder of how utterly discarded and outdated train transportation is in this country. Grade RR crossings, whistle or no, are deadly accidents waiting (most of the time) to happen. No serious rail system could have them.

PDX Renter: No, that's a you pay your money, you gets a pellet gun..... event.

To Allan L., in that case only about 1% of the rail systems on the Earth, if even that, are "serious rail systems".

Now that we've returned to reality... this is ridiculous, and likely pointless. I question the $280k being enough to do one crossing, much less three, and I'd like to know if anyone has consulted ODOT Rail Division before hatching this plan.

And most ironic of all is not just the 4th crossing at 21st that will go unchanged, but the fact that many of the horns you hear (night or day) are drifting from the multiple crossings on the East side south of the Steel Bridge.

PDX Renter, that is different. You're discussing a private individual that is housing dogs (check the laws you may find that there is a limit to the number of dogs in a house, or perhaps they are running a kennel or dog walking service, which may be illegal, etc) and choosing to let them out at a particular time. Either way, there are rules in place in the city to deal with that after you've exhausted working through it privately.

In other words talk to the neighbor, try to make friends with them and casually bring up the dogs and casually mention that the dogs wake you up in the morning. If the neighbor can't or won't change it, then move to the next step getting the neighbors together to talk to the dog owner. Finally you can choose to get nasty by contacting the city noise abatement folks, animal control, etc. Whether you can get them enforced is another matter. Or you can move someplace else. You can only control yourself and your actions, but with persistence and diplomacy you can usually reach a common ground with most people.

An active train yard is one that is providing a service to the public by moving freight and persons. It is also one that has been in place long before the housing was built. The trains themselves have to blow their whistles within the city limits at all intersections, annoying I know but it is for safety's sake.

It is comparable to complaining about living on a noisy street or freeway. It isn't like you can or should expect the roadway to shutdown according to your sleep patterns. In fact, most highways/freeways that run through the city now have walls in place to reduce the noise. The fact that the builder didn't think of this when building the condos, shows how little they think of their customers.

PDX Renter:

Yep, afraid so. Just like the drunk kids who hang out in Kennilworth Park across the street from my house on the weekends and make all manner of noise and the siren blaring reponses to the retirement home next door to me that seem to happen at least once a day (usually late at night).

I have lots of sympathy for you with the 5 Chihuahuas (not a big fan of little, yappy dogs), because you could not know about that before you moved in (if they were even livng there at the time), but there are legal means for dealing with that (I also assume you did not move in with full knowledge of yappy dogs, which, are different than a pre-existing, active rail line anyway).

You have also hit on a bigger issue - community - which is so clearly and terribly lacking in so many neighborhoods in this city and many others. I have the privilege of knowing my closest neighbors, so that I could talk to them if their dogs, kids, etc... caused a noise problem, but that has not always been the case in places I have lived, and seems to no longer be the case in many places in this country. I am already taking up too much space here, so I won't go into my thoughts on the subject, but feel free to email me at the address given if you like.

I am not supporting noisey unpleasantness, just pointing out that we live in the community we live in and most of us knew what we were getting into before we moved there.

Don't forget that the Pearl District residents also dislike the sounds of all those noisy mail trucks doing their duty. The planed move to the airport is going to cost us all a fortune.

According to a distance measuring thing on Google Maps, my house is 1.2 miles from the Brooklyn yard. I hear train whistles while I'm lying in bed at night, and I don't mind a bit.

I knew the yard was that close when I bought the place, and didn't care.

If they bought condos that are 1000 feet from an at-grade crossing, they knew what they were buying. Caveat Emptor, baby.

me deaf no big deal for me. at least sleep tighter.

Alexander, I guess you don't get out much. Check out (I think you can probably do it from your computer with Google Earth or some such) the high speed rail systems -- or even the low-speed ones -- in Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, etc. . . . You won't find grade crossings. (And if you go there to check it out, you won't hear whistles, either.) Trains moving through cities like Cologne, Paris? Not a grade crossing. Not anywhere. But of course that's way too rich for the likes of us.

I thought the area had a whole lot more character when it was just full of railroad tracks and the old Lovejoy Viaduct anyway.

I'm with jcj who gave us the George Bailey reference. This demand for peace and quiet when you buy a pricey condo near an active rail line is just another example of the arrogance that give them such a reputation amongst the proles who make sure the world runs on evenings and weekends so they can go to Trust and PF Changs and Andina.

I've lived less than 100 feet from rail lines and you know what? The sound of a passing train in the night is one of the most beautiful I know.

If you rent and the only place you can find to live is in a hood where people think their parties are so good if you can't attend then you can at least enjoy the noise, well that's one thing. But if you're wealthy enough to afford Pearlescent digs that's near a main rail line that's been in use since before The Great War and you complain about the occasional train, then be prepared to withstand withering scornful glares and remarks from the proles.

Thx for the sympathy about the (5) dogs, but that actually happened to a friend of mine.

I have to deal with the multitude of garbage trucks, delivery trucks, and LOUD drunk people (lesbians can cackle like you wouldn't believe). The only time I deal with dogs is when their owners leave them in the car while they go drink. My wife and I call these "park and barks".

PDX Renter: Even more sympathy now, but mostly for dogs left in cars while owners carouse. I love dogs, even some of the bite-sized variety, just not the yappy type. :)

Still stand by my earlier analysis and think that your problem points even more to the lack of community out there - Why can't the dogs stay at home? Hang out with the neighbors if there is a problem with leaving them at home alone? Unfortunately, I mostly have questions like that and not answers.

Wishing all quite nights!

I live less than a block from 39th Avenue. Can we get the emergency vehicles to mute their sirens, please.

Talk about pretentious as**oles. Lie down with developer dogs, get up with trains whistles, idiots.

250 grand would have bought some sidewalks for kids to walk to school in deep SE Portland. Oh well, the green yuppie bubble will burst just like the housing crisis. Wieden and Kennedy lost Starbucks, probably 20-30 layoffs. Just wait, many of these progressive limp wristed pyramid worshiping entitelmentalistic screwballs will loose their jobs and move out of this city soon. Am I bitter, hell yes. I am so frustrated with this crap. There is going to be a quantum shift to more conservative ideals. It is not Bush v.s. the left, it is morals, accountability and decency. I am sounding like a right wing Tensk but progressive new age liberalism isn’t going to cut it.

Progressive liberalism needs to learn limits. Fiscal conservatism would be an excellent place to start.

Regular conservatism ain't gonna work, either. Witness where it got us when "compassionate conservatism" and "deregulation" become the descriptive byword of our leadership.

Perhaps we could send them to re-education camps with financial executives?

I wonder what the PDC woulda' coughed up if it'd been the folks in Lents that were complaining.

I wonder what the PDC woulda' coughed up if it'd been the folks in Lents that were complaining.

That's too easy. At most, a little phlegm.

Actually, I saw Merritt Paulson goofing around out in Lents putting krugerrands on the railroad tracks and watching trains flatten them.

"Alexander, I guess you don't get out much. Check out (I think you can probably do it from your computer with Google Earth or some such) the high speed rail systems -- or even the low-speed ones -- in Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, etc. . . . You won't find grade crossings. (And if you go there to check it out, you won't hear whistles, either.) Trains moving through cities like Cologne, Paris? Not a grade crossing. Not anywhere. But of course that's way too rich for the likes of us."

As much as you're always complaining and comparing us to other countries, why don't you just move? It'd be a lot easier ;)

Joey, I think it's you the country'd be better off without. But that's just me. ;)

Sam Adams told all us po'folk living NoPo that noise just comes with livin' in the city.

I don't know what you all are talking about. That $18K coming out of my family wallet and heading to Wall Street sounds a lot worse than the 11 p.m. freight that rolls off the tracks down the hill from my house.


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