Pile driver is driving Pearl District neighbors to take action

Pile driver is driving Pearl District neighbors to take action »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Six days a week, just after seven in the morning, the atmosphere at the corner of Northwest 12th and Overton goes from the bustle of the Pearl District’s morning commute to the incessant pounding of a massive pile driver.

“It's like being under assault,” says neighbor Lisbeth Applefield.

Applefield lives right across the street from where this new highrise is being built.

She's no stranger to urban construction. Applefield moved Portland from Manhattan.

“But I never heard the noise in New York construction that's like this. This is devastating,” Applefield said.

One reason for that is New York only allows noisy impact pile drivers as a last resort in construction.

Crews have to use sound barriers, or newer pile drivers that hardly make any sound at all.

Those pile drivers push pilings into soil instead of pounding them in.

In Portland, pile drivers are exempt from noise limits and they can operate six days a week.

People living nearby don't blame construction crews. They say Portland's regulations need to change because this part of Portland has changed.

“I feel like my home has been really violated,” said Patrice Hanson. “And it makes me really sad.  And it makes me sad to hear the stories from people that are being affected by this. And it's not a little thing, you know? Anybody who thinks that it is, should come and experience it.”

A meeting of neighbors concerned about the pile driving noise drew 30 people Tuesday night.

Four more buildings that will need piles driven for foundation work are planned for the Pearl District.

Neighbors who want to change Portland’s pile driving regulations plan to take their case to Portland’s city council.