Portland Raceway to be relocated

UPDATE City Hall once again is grappling with the question of who speaks for the neighborhoods — and when to respond to complaints from a vocal minority.

This time the issue is noise in North Portland. In response to long-running complaints from some residents about noise, the City Council voted to create a steering committee to study the issue and recommend solutions. When a handful of residents complained about the noise generated at Portland International Raceway, Mayor Tom Potter also ordered that moving the racetrack be studied.

But now a survey reveals that noise is not a big issue to most North Portland residents — including noise generated by PIR.

The contradiction is being revealed as the city looks at reforming the official neighborhood association system. The reform effort was launched by Potter last year. Among other things, it is looking at how much weight the council should give citizens that informally rally around individual issues in their neighborhoods. More at Portland Tribune

04/21/06 Portland Mayor Tom Potter on Thursday asked the Parks Bureau to investigate moving Portland International Raceway out of a dense residential area in North Portland to limit the impact of noise on nearby residents.

Potter's request, near the end of a City Council hearing to determine a start time for a major race at PIR this summer, has the support of the three other commissioners at the meeting, including Dan Saltzman, who oversees parks.

Commissioner Randy Leonard, who made a similar proposal last year, said after the meeting that he wants the city to move PIR to the Rivergate Industrial district, perhaps by swapping property with a landowner there.

Nothing much came of Leonard's suggestion last year. But Potter's endorsement lends weight to a proposal that seemed unlikely before Thursday.

"If we're going to have an international raceway, let's put it in a place that does the least harm for the city of Portland," Potter said, asking Saltzman to look into the issue.

Leonard acknowledged that moving the track would be a major undertaking. "It's pushing the envelope a little bit," he said. "So it has people reluctant." More at the Portland Oregonian [Editor's Note: They want to move this track to some hideous looking Industrial Area – stick a fork in this race, it's no longer worth it unless the city is willing to build a new road course that meets modern day standards. The current one certainly does not.]

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