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Bend taking new look at noise ordinance

By Kandra Kent
Published On: Apr 18 2013 09:43:08 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent spoke with city officials, musicians, and neighbors about the deeply disputed noise ordinance.

BEND, Ore. -

It's a quiet street during the day, but come night, some neighborhoods in southwest Bend can get a little rowdy.

"You get drunks occasionally, and they'll act kind of weird, they'll do stupid things that can be kind of annoying," resident Randall Billings said Thursday.

On Wednesday night, city councilors reexamined the city's noise ordinance -- a hot-button topic dividing many in the community.
 
But for City Councilor Victor Chudowsky, it's pretty simple -- keep the 10 p.m. curfew for some events and noisy neighbors, but also support a vibrant music culture.

"We should have some sort of carve-out for artistic events, and focus on where a lot of the complaints are coming from, which is noisy neighbors," Chudowsky said.

The council took up the noise issue last fall, but it was put on the back burner until now, with new councilors aboard.

And Voodoo Highway band member David Miller hopes the city will make it a priority.

"We rely on music as a good portion, if not all of our income," Miller said.

While some, like C3 Events owner Cameron Clark, would like to see the curfew pushed past 10 p.m., there's also the issue of decibel meters -- and Miller said requiring enforcing police officers to use them is only fair.

"Require the decibel meters be taken to events where, you know, a commercial business, or club, or outdoor event with music," he said.

It's something Chudowsky supports, but so far hasn't been incorporated into the noise ordinance.

The city is also looking at extending the 10 p.m. curfew for Bend Elks baseball games, and Miller said picking and choosing who can be loud after hours is troubling.

"All the venues, all the artists and bands that do play here in town, we provide quite a bit of income, quite a bit of commerce here as well," Miller said.

Billings said the occasional noise is a small price to pay for living in a fun and rich area.

"I prefer it -- I love hearing the music, it gives this area a nice feel," Billings said.

And for Miller, he says he's already paying the price.

"We all suffered -- we lost the Roots Festival last fall, because of (the noise ordinance).  That's a big money-maker and career-builder for the musicians here in town," Miller said.

One piece changed in the noise ordinance that everyone seems to agree on is that decibel meters must now be read by police where the complaint is located, instead of the offending party's location.

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