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Readers Respond to “the Loudest Park in Portland”

Portland International Raceway generates strong feelings among supporters and critics.

Residents of North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood complain that Portland International Raceway has routinely violated the city’s noise ordinance for years if not decades (“The Loudest Park in Portland,” WW, Sept. 1, 2021). So why no enforcement? PIR is owned and operated by the city’s parks bureau, Portland Parks & Recreation. More than 30 years ago, the city promised to limit major racing events at PIR to four a year, give neighborhood associations a slice of ticket sales, and abide by the noise code the rest of the time. Neighbors say the city hasn’t kept its promise. Here’s what readers had to say.

Jeff Roth, via wweek.com: “It’s all just a waste of gas and tires as far as I’m concerned, but at least they’re doing it where they are supposed to be doing it. I’d rather deal with noise from a known source than have a bunch of cars take over the freeway or a major intersection for hours doing donuts like a bunch of 16-year-olds that just got their license.”

PDXBill, via wweek.com: “Portland made promises to control homelessness too. They lie, get used to it.”

John A, via wweek.com: “I’m not totally unsympathetic, but at the same time, I’m afraid the cries of a few will lead to a PIR closure. It’s happened elsewhere. While the motorsport hobby and industry expands, the amount of tracks is in decline, as complaints and real estate developers gobble them up. PIR is a treasure. It’d be a tragedy to lose it.”

Christopher Neil Bradley, via Facebook: “I attend 10 to 20 track events a year at PIR, and sound levels are VERY closely monitored. If you blip even a half a decibel over the limit, you’re pulled off track. They have NO sympathy nor tolerance for anyone violating park noise ordinances.”

Mr Logic, via wweek.com: “If you move next to a racetrack, there will be noise. If you live on a river, your house may flood. If you live in Kansas, you may see a tornado. If you live in Portland, some of you somehow don’t know any of these things.”

Rich Reece, via Facebook: “I’m no fan of the ‘sport,’ but as a 20-year Kenton resident, I’ve always tolerated it as a compromise one makes to live in a bargain-basement neighborhood with artificially low property taxes.”

phbalancedshorty, via Instagram: “I live on Rosa Parks Way and literally hear it all day and all night. The reality is that the pollution and the effect that has on the lower-income communities that have typically surrounded it is the biggest issue.”

Morgan Swartout, via Facebook: “The loudest track in Portland is ALL of North Portland because police are incapable of stopping the street racers.”

ifyaknowhatimean, via Instagram: “I grew up in Kenton and my mom still lives there. The sound of the track is part of the neighborhood and we LOVE IT! The racecars are awesome and so is the racing community. Good people having a ton of good fun. Leave the track alone!”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210. Email: mzusman@wweek.com.