What types of noise complaints are covered under County Code?A noise disturbance is any unreasonable sound that annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose health, peace, or safety of others. For example:
o excessively loud tv, stereo or loudspeakers; o party noises continuing late into the night; o motor vehicle engine or exhaust revving and idling; o domestic power equipment running between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.; o commercial construction too early in the day or too late in the evening;o auxiliary equipment on vehicles (pumps, refrigeration units, compressors, etc.);o off-road vehicles.
Code Enforcement does not have authority to enforce:
o noise complaints inside any city limits;o barking dogs;o emergency vehicle warning sounds when responding to/from an emergency;o sounds made for the purpose of obtaining a profit by farming;o sounds from normal operation of timber and other forest product harvesting;o organized athletic, religious, educational, civic or other group activities from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.;o sounds made in conjunction with permitted industrial or commercial uses;o sounds from public improvement activities on direction of Marion County or the State of Oregon; o sounds regulated by federal and state law;o motor vehicles on public roads unless idling more than 15 consecutive minutes at night.
How does Code Enforcement determine “excessive noise”?Outside Salem-Keizer Urban Growth Boundary: using a sound measuring device at the complainant’s property line closest to the noise source, or within the complainant’s dwelling unit if it is on the same property as the noise source but not the source of the sound, the sound level shall not exceed 55 dBA between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or 65 dBA between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. except if the sound producing device is an off-road vehicle (see below).
Within Salem-Keizer Urban Growth Boundary: it is unlawful to create any noise disturbance or sound plainly audible within any dwelling unit other than the source between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day. The following are noise disturbances: dynamic braking devices, idling engines more than 15 consecutive minutes between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and motor vehicle repair and testing during the same time period, steam whistles, and sirens. Generally, maximum sound levels are 55 dBA during the day and 45 dBA at night for residential or noise sensitive areas. Commercial areas are allowed 60 dBA during the day and 55 at night; industrial areas are allowed 65 dBA during the day and 60 dBA at night, with certain exceptions for domestic power equipment, commercial construction, etc.
What about off-road vehicles (motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.)?Marion County Code Chapter 10.25 covers off-road vehicles and states that: (1) “No person shall operate or allow anyone else to operate an off-road vehicle on any non-road area within the urban growth boundary of any city. (2) No person shall operate or allow anyone else to operate an off-road vehicle on any non-road area between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. (3) No person shall operate or allow anyone else to operate an off-road vehicle on any non-road area for more than three hours between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.” These regulations do not cover off-road vehicles used in farming or timber production. For more information, refer to “Off-Road Vehicles.”
How can I file a complaint? Generally speaking, noise disturbances at night should be reported to the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at (503) 588-5032. Noise disturbances during the day requiring noise monitoring (off-road vehicles, commercial activity in a residential area, etc.) should be reported to Code Enforcement at (503) 373-4333. County noise regulations require that a citizen provide proof, in the complaint, that he/she made a good faith effort to contact enforcement authorities while the disturbance was occurring. If staff does not observe the disturbance, the complaint must be signed by two individuals who represent at least two properties within 500 yards of where the violation occurred. If possible, please use the "Excessive Noise Disturbance Complaint Form".
Are complainants required to identify themselves? Yes, if the noise disturbance is not observed by either Code Enforcement staff or other Sheriff’s Office personnel. As noted above, in those situations the complaint must be signed by two individuals who represent at least two properties within 500 yards of where the violation occurred. However, complainant information is kept strictly confidential.
How to avoid conflicts: A few thoughtful questions to your neighbors might help you avoid conflicts and intervention from the Sheriff’s Office or Code Enforcement: 1) Ask your neighbors if any exterior noises (that seem “ok” to you) are disturbing them; 2) Get to know your neighbors and their schedules, i.e. day sleepers; and 3) When you stand outside with the doors and windows shut can you hear your stereo, tv, or other? A little consideration goes a long way in neighbor-to-neighbor relations.
What are other Marion County offices involved in noise-related enforcement?
Planning Division (503) 588-5038 handles zoning including home-based businesses; mass gatherings, gravel operations, etc. Sheriff’s Office (503) 588-5032 handles evening or nighttime complaints. Dog Control (503) 588-5366 can answer questions about barking dogs.