Submitted by a group of HAND neighbors concerned about train noise:

Will there be an increase in SE Clinton/Division Train Horn noise?
Neighborhood residents have been dismayed to learn that train horn noise in SE Portland could increase significantly as a result of the new light rail line through our area. Because the new route will parallel existing train tracks from OMSI to the Brooklyn Yard, light rail trains will be required to follow federal rules and sound four 110-decibel blasts before each intersection. In addition to the 35 Union Pacific and Amtrak trains each day, which already disturb many SE neighbors, TriMet would bring an additional 170 trains a day through the area. Many believe that much noise would be intolerable.

At the January 20th HAND Board meeting, TriMet’s South Corridor Project Manager Dave Unsworth acknowledged the concerns about this issue. He said TriMet will work with the City of Portland to attempt to get a federally-approved Quiet Zone for the area. Additional safety measures would be required, such as “quad-gates” that would block all lanes of traffic at the tracks. If approved by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Oregon Rails Division, trains would not need to routinely sound their horns, or would be able to sound the horn at a lower-decibel level. We anticipate that Dave will return to the March HAND Board meeting with an update on feasibility of this plan.

Neighbors will need to be diligent to assure that planning for the Quiet Zone remains a priority. Please see related fact sheets for more information. To add your name to an interest list, email:

Handout: Health & Safety Effects
Handout: QZfact sheet