A black-owned jazz club on Alberta Street won't have to shut down live music at 10 pm—at least not yet.
WW first reported last week that Portland's Office of Neighborhood Involvement was seeking a 10 pm music curfew for Solae's Lounge, one of Portland's last remaining jazz venues.
At a Dec. 21 hearing, representatives of the club and ONI agreed to try to settle the case, at the request of the hearings officer. (Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported the potential compromise.)
"I want to offer the city and the defense the chance to have a conversation about what might be a resolution before a hearings code officer makes a decision," said hearing officer Melvin Oden-Orr, "that I guarantee someone won't like."
If parties fail to develop an agreement by Jan. 4 or abide by it afterward, the mandatory curfew could be back on the table.
Oden-Orr suggested settlement talks following the testimony of Paul Van Orden, an ONI noise control officer, who confirmed that ONI did not have sound measurements to support complaints of noise violations in the last year.
Van Orden also testified that the club had completed the minimum, "baseline" soundproofing. The city did not conduct follow up noise violation measurements because of limited staff, said Van Orden.
"The department currently has one field officer for about 650,000 businesses," said Van Orden, "and we also work with mechanical equipment, plus music and nightclubs."
ONI's decision to impose a curfew was based on complaints received on 24 specific dates, all 24 of which came from one individual, with two of them duplicated by another neighbor.
"Systems like this give residents disproportionate power over businesses," said Solae's attorney Ashlee Albies.
As WW reported last week, ONI currently faces two federal civil-rights lawsuits. Albies argued that ONI's approach to Solae's Lounge, owned and frequented by African Americans, appeared to fit a pattern of targeting black-owned businesses.
Many of the complaints filed by Solae's neighbors referenced problems unrelated to noise such as increased gang activity, violence, and crime.
The lawyer for Solae's asked that the testimony on anything aside from noise be excluded, and when the hearing recessed none had been included.