LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, but a popular local spot to play is shutting down due to noise complaints from neighbors.
The Lake Oswego City Council voted earlier this month to close down the outdoor pickleball courts at the city's George Rogers Park amid complaints from residents that the clacking sound of pickleballs hitting paddles could be heard at all hours of the day.
But the decision was a controversial one, with pickleball's defenders arguing that the sport has been bringing people of all ages out to play for nearly ten years, especially retirees.
"Pickleball provides a lot of exercise, especially seniors who don’t always get a chance to be outdoors," said one pickleball player at the council meeting.
Neighbors didn’t want to go on camera to talk about the George Rogers courts closing.
City staff had been discussing options for the future of the courts for the past couple months. Kyra Haggard, a project manager with the city's parks department, offered council members a couple ideas to help mitigate the noise, such as putting what would essentially be a roof over the courts — but that would come with a price tag of more than $100,000, she said.
Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm said the sport really grew in popularity during the pandemic, but that also contributed to the noise that neighbors have been complaining about.
"We just had large amounts of people, which created an issue with noise and traffic," he said.
The sport's popularity isn't lost on city leaders; even as the council voted to close the courts, the city is already looking at other locations for new ones. One of the options is Westlake Park, where the city could convert some of the existing tennis courts into pickleball courts.
For the time being, Lake Oswego's pickleball players are going to have to wait and see when and where they’ll be able to play again.