Commissioners OK Electronically Amplified Noise Ordinance

After considerable discussion during the Linn County Commissioners meeting May 28, Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker unanimously approved an electronically amplified noise ordinance that will take effect in 90 days.

The ordinance does not apply to noise from farming or other equipment, or from entities such as the Willamette Speedway. It focuses solely on sounds that have been amplified, such as music blaring from speakers at neighborhood parties or events.

The ordinance encompasses properties within the county boundaries, but not individual cities unless they have similar ordinances. For example, the Oregon Jamboree music festival is held in downtown Sweet Home and would not fall under this ordinance. The former Willamette Country Music Festival was held on a farm outside of Brownsville and would fall under this ordinance.

Linn County has had an “outdoor assemblies ordinance” in place for several years. The new ordinance now includes areas such as neighboring properties.

Linn County has long had an ordinance against creating a “public nuisance,” but Sheriff Michelle Duncan said that requires at least three neighbors who are willing to testify against someone who is producing the loud, disturbing noises.

The new ordinance makes it illegal to “create electronically amplified sounds that can be heard by a reasonable person of ordinary sensitiveness using unaided hearing across property lines, during the weekend day and holiday hours of 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. and weekday hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

It would be a Class A violation.

Duncan said her deputies will always try to educate people before an issue gets to the citation stage.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Amended several pay range classifications within the Mental Health Department, increasing the pay scale in response to the competitiveness to hire and maintain qualified staff after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mental Health Department has 47 clinical positions (requiring a master’s degree or higher) and recently there were 16 open positions.
  • Approved amending a Juvenile Department Supervisor position to Deputy Director position.
  • Were told by Juvenile Director Torri Lynn that in April the detention center held 23 youth from Linn County plus four from Benton County and six from Lincoln County. There were 39 referrals and there are 200 young people on probation or pending court, of which 39 are considered “high-risk.” There are 103 youth in the Community Programs Unit and the Intervention Specialist is serving 116 young people.
  • Approved a Code Text Amendment that will allow the “manufacturing, compounding, processing, assembling, packaging, treatment or fabrication of products” in buildings in the Urban Growth Area – Rural Commercial zone. The amendment was requested by Riverland LLC. The company has built several industrial grade buildings along Highway 99 on the north side of Tangent. The code text amendment would allow manufacturing within those buildings. Riverland LLC is owned by the Raschein family.