Your Participation in Free Leaf Pickup Days Could Help Reduce Local Pollution

Taking advantage of PBOT’s free neighborhood leaf pickup days is a great way to keep your property tidy, our streets and storm water drainage systems clean and functional, and preserve the health of our urban forest and other natural landscapes.  It is also a welcome alternative to the harmful effects of gas powered leaf blowers, which represent a growing source of air, noise, water and even soil pollution citywide.  These small 2-stroke engines are inordinately large emitters of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons.  Blower winds, some in excess of 180 mph, damage new growth and developing flowers, blow away topsoil, and distribute disease spores, weed seeds, pesticides and other toxins across the neighborhood.  The common practice of blowing all this debris into the street also leads to these pollutants being carried into storm water drains where it then collects in our rivers.

So grab a rake, or a friend, or a rake and a friend, or $15 to pay a willing teenager, and join Bennett and me this fall (it’s one of her favorite things to do — “Dad, is it time to rake the leaves into a big pile yet!?”) for leaf pickup days on November 15th and November 29th.  On the day BEFORE your scheduled leaf day, rake your leaves into the street 12 inches from the curb.  If you can, move your car and any other obstacles off the street.  If you can’t move your car, you can rake your leaves into the middle of the street 12 inches beyond your car.  Please be considerate of your neighbors by raking your leaves into the street as late as possible and only in anticipation of pickup.  Leaves and other debris left in the street become extremely hazardous for bicyclists, get stuck in storm drains and erode curbs and other infrastructure.

Unlike years past, there is no fee for leaf pickup this year.  The leaf pickup zone does not cover the eastern part of Sunnyside, from César Chavez to SE 49th Avenue.  If you are unsure whether your address is within the pickup zone, please check the Leaf District Locator found on PBOT’s Leaf Day website where you can find out everything you want to know about Portland Leaf Day, and quite a bit more.

Happy raking!

Matt Lembo

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