A typical suburban sky at midnight. LIght at
night has been shown to disturb wildlife among other detriments
Dark Skies vs. Light Pollution
By Bruce Bartlett
As a life-long resident of Washington County (55 years and counting),
one of my biggest disappointments in the impact of population growth
has been the increase in light pollution. Light pollution is
defined by Dark Skies International (www.darksky.org) as: Any adverse
effect of artificial light including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light
clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste.
To be certain, a modern urban society requires sufficient lighting
for safety and comfort, but new developments can go overboard attempting
to provide that lighting. There is often no regard for the impact
of street or house lighting on the new residents and neighbors. An "acorn" style
street light can look quite attractive in daylight and can become a polluting
monster at night.
Over the past 6 years as Chair of Citizen Participation Organization
1. (www.cpo1friends.org), I have regularly heard from citizens complaining
about unwanted light, usually from street lights but also from parking
lot and commercial building lights and even neighbors’ outdoor lighting.
In terms of safety, very little crime occurs above the streetlights
so why light up the sky?
And since unnecessary lighting unnecessarily consumes electricity,
significant economic and environmental advantages can be obtained
by making good lighting choices that prevent light from escaping
above the fixture, and avoid glare and sky glow.
Local sources of information on urban lighting include: Bob McGowan,
firstname.lastname@example.org of Rose City Astronomers (www.rca-omsi.org);
Daniel Gauger - PGE Street Lighting Services Supervisor, 503-736-5761;
and Nancy Schmidt - Washington County street light coordinator,
If you have an issue with a specific street light, each light
pole has a coded number on it that identifies it, so please try
to obtain this identification number for reference.
Street lighting requirements are documented in the Washington
County Community Development Code Section 501-8.2 Essential Services,
available on-line at: www.co.washington.or.us/deptmts/lut/LAND_DEV/CDC/codepdf/code.htm.
Refer to paragraph C. Street Lighting.
PGE lists the various street lights available on their website
Dark Skies was the topic of the December 5 meeting of CPO 1, and
the minutes and presentations from that meeting will be available
on the website a few days after the program, www.cpo1friends.org