Protesters: Stop pile driving in the Pearl, ‘save our kids’

Hoyt Street Properties using pile driving in Block 20 construction

Protesters gathered to make their voices heard on pile driving. October 2, 2016, (KOIN)
Protesters gathered to make their voices heard on pile driving. October 2, 2016, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Residents against pile driving in the Pearl rallied on Sunday to make their voices heard.

Parents of Chapman Elementary School students and neighbors gathered at Hoyt Street Properties on NW 10th Avenue at 1 p.m. to oppose pile driving in the area.

Protesters said they’re concerned about the noise pile driving will cause during the construction of Block 20. Chapman Elementary School holds kindergarten classes near the construction site and recess in The Fields Park across the street. They believe the noise will be a health hazard.

“I’m out here to literally shame Hoyt Street Properties into doing the right thing,” protester Mary Sipe told KOIN 6 News. “It’s been documented that noise over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage in children.”

Pearl District residents protested Sunday against a developer's decision to use pile driving instead of a quieter method, October 2, 2016. (KOIN)
Pearl District residents protested Sunday against a developer’s decision to use pile driving instead of a quieter method, October 2, 2016. (KOIN)

Sipe says 13 developers have responded to neighbors’ concerns over the past 2.5 years by opting to use a quieter auger during construction.

But according to Hoyt Street Properties, pile driving will give Block 20 the safest foundation because of soil conditions near the Willamette River. The company said it’s working with the City of Portland and Portland Public Schools to find solutions that will benefit everybody in the area.

Protesters like Sipe say they believe Hoyt Street Properties chose pile driving because it’s more cost effective than using an auger, which they say is a quieter method.

“We have in writing… that their decision was because of the cost,” Sipe said.

Other residents, including Bryan Rider and his wife Alina who is 24 weeks pregnant, say they’re considering moving out of the Pearl because of the issue.

“I don’t think I can live with myself knowing I stayed through something that would cause my daughter harm,” Bryan said. “So yeah, we would absolutely move.”