by Amanda Waldroupe, Staff Writier
Walk just about anywhere in downtown Portland and odds are you will be serenaded by a stranger. But don’t take it personally. This is business.
For 16 years, street musicians, businesses and the city have operated under an agreement that allows performers their place in the sun. But now, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s office will dust off the agreement, starting with a public forum for all those involved.
The forum is scheduled for Feb. 10, and Sara Hussein, Fritz’s policy assistant, says that Fritz is hoping attendance will include a large number of street musicians, business owners, representatives from law enforcement, Paul van Orden, the city’s noise control officer, and the city’s ombudsman.
Hussein says the forum was prompted by a number of concerns Fritz’s office has received from street musicians and business owners about the Street Musician Partnership, which was created in 1994. Street musicians, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) and the City of Portland are members of the partnership, which sets down rules and regulations for musicians playing on Portland’s streets.
The rules include mandating that a street musician can only play in a particular location for 60 minutes, then either take a 60-minute break and resume playing, or move to another location. Musicians are not allowed to play more than twice on a corner or given location in the course of a day. Street musicians are asked to understand the city’s noise ordinance, and to be spaced at least one block apart. Amplification is allowed, but if the music can be heard more than 50 feet away, then it’s in violation of the agreement. Continue reading