• Tim Root

We at the Mercury like us some MusicFestNW. At least, most of it.

But then, we're not the monied, irascible attorneys and bigwigs whose offices overlook Pioneer Courthouse Square. They aren't pleased.

"They managed yesterday to get the ire of probably the largest number of complainants we've had about Pioneer Square," City of Portland Noise Control Officer Paul van Orden said of the festival when the Mercury called this morning. "Today, I'm probably gonna put the kibosh on sound checks."

According to van Orden, his office has received something like 20 complaints due to soundchecks and other activity taking place in the square. He was still wading through them all.

"That’s a lot for almost anything," van Orden said. "If you get that you're probably impacting several hundred people."

Notably for van Orden, the people phoning in complaints have been the executives with plush offices ringing the square. "They're livid enough not to have a front desk person call. That means it's pretty bad."

Yesterday's line-up at the square: Vanaprasta, Youth Lagoon (which Merc music editor Ned Lannamann thought you should see!) and Young the Giant (which Merc music editor Ned Lannamann doesn't believe anyone would go see of their own volition. So maybe that's what all the complaints are about?).

As with any noisy event in the square, the city issued a noise variance for MFNW this week, but van Orden says he's got wiggle room to make sure the festival's not messing with people's lives. He's not sure what activities he might ask organizers to curtail, but the concerns will likely only effect festival activity this afternoon. MFNW ends Sunday, and weekends shouldn't be an issue, van Orden said.

"I’m gonna basically tell the square we’ve gotta get it under control," he said.

I emailed Trevor Solomon, the festival's director, a few minutes ago and haven't heard back. He's probably quite busy.

QUICK UPDATE, 11:05: Solomon got back to me. He says they're aware of the complaints, and that "production people are working hard today to address this?." Didn't say what that meant.