A Five-Minute Guide to Living in the Neighborhood

October 2006, John Miller, john at timehaven.us. Permission granted to use!
Please notify me if you adapt this to your neighborhood. I would like to track all derivative works.

Noise and Soundscape

Observe Quiet Time. By city code, Quiet Time is 10pm to 7am. Families with young children especially need this quiet time on weekday nights during the school year.

Keep parties quiet. Outdoor parties are OK, but once Quiet Time begins, parties should move indoors, off porches and decks. Mostly quiet with outbursts of shouting or laughter doesn't qualify as quiet. Nighttime shouting and laughing can be as annoying as loud music. Intoxicated party goers have no clue how loud they are on the street when walking to cars or another party in the neighborhood.

Minimize noise from cars and pickups. A frequent guest honking on his arrival, revv-ing his engine, and squealing his tires on take off can be annoying.

Turn down your stereo. Your Bass should not be audible in our House.

Hold the fireworks. Fireworks are legal a few days before July 4th, through two weeks after. Illegal fireworks late at night are not only illegal, they violate the basic Quiet Time rule, and constitute a fire threat to the neighborhood during the summer.

Do what you have to do. Everyday sounds of power tools, chainsaws, leaf blowers, stereos, musical instruments, and auto horns may be necessary, within reason and within hours.

Air Quality

Mind or reduce your smoke. Cigarette and fireplace smoke can drift into open windows across property lines. No laws regulate this. Please be considerate, especially in the summer.


Dispose of Your Garbage legally. You are responsible for your garbage. Don't dump garbage elsewhere. Pay for garbage pickup or take it to a Metro facility. Visit Metro's web site, or call 503-234-3000 to find out who your hauler is. Fetch your empty garbage can and recycling bins back from the curb on pickup day.

Learn to Recycle, Portland style. Newspapers, scrap paper, glass, plastic bottles, metal, cardboard, motor oil and other things can be recycled at your curbside on garbage pick-up day. The Recycle At Home web page shows how to prepare the materials for recycling. Keep glass bottles and jars separate from everything else.

Dispose of chemicals properly. Don't dump motor oil, paint, or chemicals on ground. Don't leave antifreeze in open where animals may ingest. Car batteries must be disposed of properly. Flashlight batteries should not be put in trash. Learn to dispose of such things responsibly via the Recycle At Home web page.


Keep driveways and easements passable. Some of us share a common easement that must be kept clear. The back lot must not be made inaccessible to vehicles. There is no parking on an easement.

Safety & Civility

Drive carefully when coming and going. Other cars, bikes, pedestrians share the streets and may use the same driveways.

Join the Neighborhood Watch Group. Watch Group look out for one another's property, pets, gardens, mail, newspapers. The Watch Group captain keeps a list of occupants, phone numbers, vehicles, and landlords.

Help clean up. If you walk or bike in Greenwood Hills Cemetery, please consider supporting the maintenance association through a donation or by joining the spring or fall cleanup parties.


Keep dogs from barking excessively. Dogs will bark, but should not be barking for long periods of time, day or night.

Keep dogs leashed. Cemeteries are not city parks, off-leash areas, or doggy toilets. Well-behaved dogs are allowed off-leash in the Greenwood Hills Cemetery. Riverview Cemetery and Tryon Creek State Natural Area (?) prohibit dogs altogether.

Clean up after your dog. Need we say more? Pooper-Scooper laws apply. Greenwood Hills Cemetery provides bags for dog owners. Tryon Creek State Park is no exception to the law. Trails there are used by runners and many children. Sidewalks should be kept clean!

Keep your cat in your yard. Cats roam, kill birds, and bury poop in other people's gardens. Cats do kill mice, that much is good, but they will be safer and healthier if kept indoors, in a Catio, or fenced enclosure. You may argue for your cat's wild nature and freedom, but if you do, you can clean up after them, and will give you the dead birds. Cats are coyote food. Cats are killed on the road every day.

Discourage Vermin and Predators. Pet food left out may attract raccoons or rats. Unsecured garbage can be opened by raccoons. Cats left out may be caught by local coyotes.


If partyers or visitors are rowdy, for their own safety neighbors may not try to give any warning before calling the Portland Police. Landlords prefer that neighbors call police so these cases are on the record, and they then may have grounds for eviction.

The Portland Police NON-EMERGENCY phone number is 503-823-3333. 9-1-1 should be used only for fire, medical, or other emergencies.

Photo Credit: Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2004). Coyote on Road.

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