Editorial: Measure noise ordinance violations

Bend city councilors are going to talk noise at their Wednesday meeting. On the agenda, there’s a plan to polish away the ambiguities in the city’s noise ordinance. But the revision fails to purge the ordinance’s biggest ambiguity: Police are not required to measure the noise.

In December, Municipal Court Judge Brian Hemphill dismissed the first citation issued for a violation of the new Bend noise ordinance. Hemphill said there was a lack of clarity in the ordinance and the information presented by police, so the city is clarifying that language.

The maximum penalties for violations will remain significant. For the first violation in a year, it’s up to $750. The second violation is up to $1,500, the third is up to $5,000 and the fourth or more in a year is up to $10,000.

We’d expect Bend police to be careful about issuing citations without a measurement, but it’s not fair to fine residences or businesses when it’s not clear if they actually violated the law. Before police issue citations for that kind of money, they should be required to measure the noise.