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New Noise Monitor for PDX

by Jack Penning

Posted on June 6, 2006 at 5:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:45 PM

Port of Portland Test Logo.gif

The Port of Portland has annouced it will invest $1.9 million in a new airport noise monitoring system for PDX. Once it's up and running, sometime next summer, you'll be able to log-on to the airport's website and get a real-time view of all the planes in PDX airspace... down to street level. If one plane is particularily loud, you'll be able to see the exact airline, type, and flight number... so you can more easily report a complaint.

Currently, noise complaints take days to research. Port engineers have to go back over the flight records, and reconstruct the flights patterns for the day and hour of the complaint. Neighbors say they're frustrated by the slow response. Many want to know immediately what plane, and airline, is causing the noise.

With the new monitor, the Port says it will be able to respond much more quickly to complaints. It will also be able to give an exact explaination for the location of each noisy aircraft.

The new system will look a lot like one designed by Passur, that's currently in use at dozens of airports around the country.

Many neighbors... including an especially frustrated group in Vancouver... say the monitor won't solve the real problem. They say they want to make sure jets stay out over the Columbia River... at all times... and not over their neighborhoods. Still, the Port says, at the very least, the monitor should allow those residents to better collect data on offending aircraft.

This map, posted on the airport's website shows that controllers do try to keep most jet aircraft over the river.

Typical Jet West-East Flight Patterns.gif
Typical West-to-East Jet Flight Patterns at PDX (Courtesy Port of Portland).

But this map shows just how many non-jet aircraft end-up over residental areas... both on the Washington and the Oregon side of the Columbia.

Typical Non-Jet Flight Patterns.gif
Typical Non-Jet Flight Patterns at PDX (Courtesy Port of Portland).

If you have a noise complaint, you can contact the Port of Portland, using this Noise Complaint Form, or you can call the Port at (503) 460-4100 from the Portland area, or toll-free, (800) 938-6647 from Clark County.

The Port will host an Airport Noise Committee meeting this Thursday, from 6pm to 8pm, in the St. Helens Conference Room, at Portland International Airport.

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