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Cedar Mill News
Volume 5, Issue 12


December 2007

“Dark-sky friendly” lighting will be required by county
by Bruce Bartlett, Chair, CPO 1

Acorn-style lights are pretty in the daytime, but are a big source of light pollution after dark

As a life-long resident of Washington County (56 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 sure, a modern urban society requires sufficient lighting for safety and comfort, but new developments often go overboard providing that lighting.  It seems that no regard is given to the impact of street or house lighting on residents.  An ‘acorn’ style light can look quite attractive in daylight and can become a light pollution monster at night.  So bright, in fact, you often have to shade your eyes from them in order to see clearlyat night.

Cobra-head lights are one of the "dark-sky friendly" light fixtures offered by PGE

Over the last six years as CPO 1 chair I have consistently 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 tops of streetlights.  So why is so much ‘extra light’ produced by outdoor fixtures?  Up until now, the answer has been the lack of specifications in the county development code requiring non-polluting lights.

The good news is that Washington County has recently revised its street light illumination standards to specify “Dark Sky” compliant fixtures on streets. This will apply to all new developments. Lighting on county roadways will also specify dark sky friendly fixtures.

Tom Tushner, Washington County Traffic Engineer, and Portland General Electric (PGE) representatives will give a presentation explaining how light pollution is being addressed at the December 4th, 2007 meeting of CPO 1, 7:00 PM in the Souther Auditorium at St. Vincent’s hospital. PGE representatives will explain and demonstrate their different types of fixtures including dark sky friendly fixtures. 




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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
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