Noisy pile driver shakes Pearl despite neighbors’ pleas

Block 20 project on NW 10th Avenue is right by Chapman Elementary School

Due to the soil near the construction site, workers will be pile driving for a strong building foundation. September 14, 2016, (KOIN)
Due to the soil near the construction site, workers will be pile driving for a strong building foundation. September 14, 2016, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A noisy pile driver began pounding away on a construction site in the Pearl District Wednesday morning, just over a month after protesters tried blocking the developer from using it.

The Hoyt Street Properties project Block 20 on NW 10th Avenue is right by Chapman Elementary School, where blankets and wooden posts were put up to curb noise from the incessant pounding.

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)

Parents of the nearly 100 children who attend the school and some nearby residents called on Hoyt Street Properties to use a quieter piece of equipment called an auger instead of a pile driver.

Protester Mary Sipe previously told KOIN 6 News, over the last 2 1/2 years, 13 developers have responded to neighbors’ concerns with pile drivers and used augers instead. But she said Hoyt Street Properties wasn’t as willing to compromise.

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

However, Hoyt Street Properties said soil conditions, not cost, influenced its decision. Using a pile driver would give Block 20 the safest foundation, the developer said.

Now that pile driving at the construction zone has begun, neighbors say they’re having trouble sleeping and are becoming concerned about building stability.

“It woke us all up, everyone on our floor got up,” Pearl District resident Gabriel Rivera said. “Everyone, I think, thought one of the buildings started to collapse.”

Other neighbors say the pounding has been shaking appliances and shelves and scaring their pets. Some people have started to wear noise-canceling headphones.

While Rivera says he understands that ongoing construction is part of life in Portland, he’s shocked the city is allowing such a high level of noise.

Neighbors have asked commissioners to limit the use of the pile driver.

The noise review board sent a proposal to Commissioner Amanda Fritz to do just that in September. KOIN 6 News reached out to her for comment but did not hear back.