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Portland’s Approved Leaf Blower List Goes Public on September 1, 2009


City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services







August 28, 2009

Contact: Ross Caron, Bureau of Development Services 503.823.4268

(Portland, OR) Today, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services released a list of approved leaf blowers that meet noise levels established in the City’s Noise Code Title 18 for use in the City of Portland. All leaf blowers used for personal and/or commercial activities inside the City limits must be on the certified list of approved leaf blowers.

For the past several years, the Noise Control Program has conducted extensive outreach to leaf blower manufacturers to add their products to the approved leaf blower list. To qualify for the list:

  • Leaf blowers must not exceed 65 dBA (decibels) at 50 feet from the devise during the summer months (March 1st – October 31st)
  • Leaf blowers must not exceed 70 dBA at 50 feet from the devise during the rainy winter months (November 1st – February 28th), when leaves are likely to be heavy and wet
  • Each leaf blower must be certified by a third-party testing laboratory, using American National Standards Institute (ANSI) methodology, ANSI B175.2-2000
  • Currently, the list includes electric and gas powered leaf blowers, but does not include battery powered devices.

“This code change was adopted by the City Council in response to concerns expressed by the community about leaf blower noise,” said Paul van Orden, Noise Control Officer for the City of Portland. “It is intended to limit noise levels during the summer months when people are likely to open windows or be outdoors.”

Please note that the general operating restrictions for all leaf blowers prohibit use between the hours of 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM with some limited exceptions.

The Bureau of Development Services will be updating this list annually, or as additional certifications for leaf blowers are received. To view a copy of the approved leaf blower list, visit:

If you have questions about the approved leaf blower list, please contact the Noise Control Office at 503-823-7350.



billy bob

August 31, 2009 at 8:22 PM

i have a 20 year old blower that still works like brand new ,and if its too loud for you then give me a brand new one or put tampons in your ears and shut up


Buford Axlerod

August 31, 2009 at 11:54 PM

Where do I bring my leaf blowers so I can be paid for them, and how much are you going to give me for them. Since I have no money to replace them and still have a need to use this type of tool, the only thing that would be equitable is the City of Portland, or the upstanding people that pushed this wonderfully moronic idea through, will be paying for the ones they claim are "too loud" or haven't been "approved" by their Panel of Experts, most of which couldn't tell you if it was daylight or dark due to where they normally have their head located...but they sure can tell exactly how many decibels your blower is from across the street.
When are the inmates going to quit having the ability to run this asylum? How about if we quit worrying about keeping Portland weird and change it to Make Portland Intelligent Again.
By the way, the neighbors Harley is louder than multiple leaf blowers, and their kids car stereo is louder than the other 2 combined.
So just shut your mouth, close the door and feel comfort in the fact that all that terrible noise will be over, most likely, in less than 20 minutes.



September 1, 2009 at 10:21 AM

How about thinking about what brought us to the point that Portland NEEDED regulations? If maintenance companies that use leaf blowers did so with some consideration for the general public, there would never have been a need for regulations. I resent taking after hours calls from tenants who are disturbed by the careless maintenance people in the surrounding area. And the Harley people and the stereo excuse are just cop outs for bad behavior. Stop the rudeness at your own front door!



September 1, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Toro 51592 Super 12 Amp 2-Speed Electric Blower/Vacuum; $60.

works like a charm; 230 mph air speed. enough to blow away the stray cats and their poop!



September 2, 2009 at 7:00 PM

This is a devastating blow. My company is down 40% from last year, and now I am expected to replace equipment that is in good working order. Has anyone really thought this thru? This is an unnecessary hardship at a time when things are already tough enough.


Anonymous User

September 2, 2009 at 7:21 PM

Hope you enjoy the fact that my blower will be quieter.

Sorry that you will have to listen to it loooooooonger.

The best portland approved blower is equivalent to my old stihl br320. I have yards that take 2-3 hours a week in Eastmorland with this machine, and I can be out of there in 45 min to an hour with the BR600 (rated at 75 dba). Hope a 5 dba reduction is worth hearing 3 times as long.




September 2, 2009 at 7:35 PM

The city of Portland Parks Department actually uses blowers that are now off the approved list. Are they now held to the new rules that the rest of us are or are they exempt? Are taxpayers going to be expected to pay to retool city departments when the tools they are currently using are just fine? Go ahead let's hit small businesses when their already down. Boy this really chaps my hide. Maybe I'll quit my Portland accounts and only do business in the suurounding areas. That way Portland will see far less tax money at the end of the year because I won't have to pay city of portland business taxes anymore. What a waste. Lets just go and fill the damn landfills up even more. Hope my customers on time and materials in portland don't mind paying for extra hours for leaves in fall since the crappy blowers take sooo much longer to run.



September 2, 2009 at 7:45 PM

I found the solution it's fabulous. I went out and bought the loudest piece of crap genertor and am plugging in my weinie electric leaf blower. Everyone will be happy. I will make more money as it will take longer. And I won't be able to here the sniveling neighbors over my generator. Gotcha !!!!!!


Anonymous User

September 2, 2009 at 7:56 PM

This is not going to solve the problem. This is only going to upset all the maintenance type small business owners who work in Portland. I really want to know --- who the heck votes this kind of a thing in? If many of us intellegent people were allowed to actually vote on this new ordinance it never would have passed. Where's our right to vote? I also want to know why we don't get any transition period? One day we're legal to do work with our equipment and the next day we're not.



September 4, 2009 at 10:35 AM

They seem to descend upon my neighborhood all at once, and the leaf blowers on my street go for a half hour or more. The vapors float right into my windows and fill my home with noxious fumes. I've had to leave my house until it aired out, it's awful. The unbearable noise from gas powered garden tools makes it impossible for anyone who works or studies at home to concentrate. Not using leaf blowers will not end your "landscaping" business, it will just force you to do it right.



September 4, 2009 at 12:08 PM

The city does not clean our street – without the blower I probably won’t be able to do it any more. I suppose I could try an electric one – my neighbor has one – takes him hours to do what I can do in a few minutes.
What am I supposed to do with the old one? Throw it away? That doesn’t sound very environmentally friendly…
Gas lawn mowers are also very noisy. I wonder if the city is planning to outlaw those too?


Steve Clark

September 8, 2009 at 11:33 AM

The Echo backpack model #PB460LN is third pary tested at 65 dba not 70 dba. It has been available for several years. Could you please note that on your approved list.



September 8, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Actually, most of the gas powered blowers are capable of achieving the lower decibles as now "required". Simply run the machine a little slower. The Shindawai company uses a "hush mode" that is simply a throttle control limit switch. If the city allowed this, a person could do it themselvs, or have a pro shop do it for a small fee.


Anonymous User

September 11, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Lazy ?? Ha! The only reason workers use the higher rated blowers is to be more efficient and faster so they can get more work and accounts done in a day. I hardly call that lazy. I would be more inclined to call the people who hire maintenace workers to do their own lawn work then complain about the tools they use lazy. By the way since when was it "not right" to use a tool to get the job done. Should we go back to picking corn by hand instead of using harvesters. Why don't you ( Debbie ) go tell the farmers they're lazy and not doing it right? Better yet shut your windows in fall and get a set of ear plugs.


Simon schumacher

September 29, 2009 at 7:54 AM

I think this is amazing that people are complaining when these bloody things are so loud. I hate my own blower and use it as carefully as possible. I would not want to upset the near by neighbors. My wife and I have even called in complaints for the neighbor that has a landscape crew twice a week blasting us out of our own home.

I called the City and it sounds like they will not make me get rid of my old blower and that the way they respond is all complaint driven.

I agree almost entirely with this effort by the City. Stop your California Republican style anti government language and give us a little peace and quiet.

By the way the same people would deny us all health care so we live with less medical coverage then any other major country.

American is become an embarrassment.


Daniel Jones

October 2, 2009 at 12:21 PM

I own a landscape contracting company. I have employees and pay worker's comp insurance. My reason for using blowers is blowers cut down on repetitive motion injury to shoulder joints as well as keeping the cost down for landscape maintenance for my clients.
If at a jobsite sound can be heard that is because equipment is being used by people doing work.
I don't like other people's noise anymore than the next person but I never put my need for quiet above the needs of people doing work during working hours.
If people are need a noiseless environment during the hours when it is appropriate for people to be at work, might I suggest ear plugs, music or just make some work noise yourself.


R.K. Dixon

October 15, 2009 at 1:51 AM

Wow. I really don't know how anyone survived before leaf blowers existed. The planet must have been a filthy, uninhabitable mess covered with disgusting tree fodder and absolutely unfit for humanity. I'm surprised we didn't all die out as a species. Thankfully we were able to become much smarter than God and/or nature in the 1900's and step in with technology to save the planet. (it must be working or we'd have global warming, RF radiation, air and noise pollution everywhere.. oh wait.. we do)

Leaf blowers were invented by the Japanese in the late 50's as chemical sprayers and were introduced to America in the 1970's. Shortly thereafter some lazy American decided they'd be better with the spray nozzle removed so they could noisily blow crap from one place to another instead of just sweeping it up. Soon after the leaf blower was introduced into the U.S., its use was banned in two California cities, Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1975 and Beverly Hills in 1978, as a noise nuisance.

It has been medically proven that manually raking & sweeping can significantly lessen your chances of obesity, diabetes & heart disease. Using this method also saves you money as you no longer have the expenses of a leafblower, fuel or gym fees to take off your excess pounds you gained being lazy. ;)


Aaron Mangelsdorf

October 17, 2009 at 1:37 PM

I am a homeowner in NE, and we work very hard to maintain our humble home. I believe that maintaining our property shows pride in our community, minimizes the "broken window effect," and overall adds to the quality of life of myself and those around me.

That being said, I use an electric blower to minimize the impact of the tremendous amount of leaves that fall from all the trees around my property. After the leaves are blown in a common area I rake them up and dispose of them. THAT being said, I want to thank the wonderful city of Portland for collecting my incredibly high property taxes, and allocating that money to the privileged people in Irvington who still get their leaves picked up by the city. I also wish to thank Mr. Adams for the terrific decision to not offer drop-off depots anymore. I am truly excited about the prospect of not being able to use my blower anymore to pick up the leaves from ill-maintained trees owned by the slum-lord next door. I also enjoy the warm feeling in my heart for the residents in Irvington and NW PDX who will continue to enjoy the great services our city offers. I truly can't wait to bag up the truckloads of leaves and pay through the nose to have them picked up. Or, perhaps the city wants to keep my neighborhood higher-risk for a few more years. We certainly wouldn't want to improve the livalibility of a higher-risk neighborhood TOO signifcantly; afterall if the need for certain social services is reduced, then the budgets of other agencies are impacted and must be subsequently justified.

So, thanks Portland! I and the other citizens in my neighborhood who care about their neighborhood will continue to improve the community without you, which, in my opinion is how it should be. I don't believe that a community should wait for the government to take care of them. I do believe, however, that the citizens of this city should be treated equitably and fairly. Perhaps a good location for an ad-hoc leave depot would be in front of City Hall.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!



October 23, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Stop yer whining! Society doesn't need this abominable invention! Just buy a rake for humanity's sake.


better get rid of trash service

October 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM

I run a landscape business and I am always curtious to my customers and the neighbors. I never start before 8:00am Monday thru Friday. However I usually get woke up around 6:00am
by very large garbage services. My neighbor had some construction done on his house they start at 7:am and the skill saws put out way more noise than the blowers. If someone has a problem with it they can come talk to me and work something out to make it work for everyone. I have a lot of jobs too do and using a wrake is fine if the customer wants to pay double sometimes triple cost and Im sure thats not going to happen. We do use newer model machines that put out less emissions and are quiter. But I that isnt going to make everyone happy all the time. People need to communicate. Get some balls- go out and talk to us. If you try.. you might just find.. you get what you need. Wait wasnt that rolling stone song? Mic for Mayor! So lets be curtious to each other and learn that effective communication can solve almost any issue not a 300.00 ticket from the city.



October 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Last week when it was POURING rain, I saw guys using the leaf blower in PUDDLES which was spraying water and leaves everywhere. Where is the common sense? I saw a landscaping company the other day blowing grass dry with a leaf blower. Is all of this really necessary?



October 30, 2009 at 1:07 PM

I am from New England where the amount of leaf drop is about double than that of Portland, OR. There was not one leaf blower in my neighborhood! In fact, I don't remember ever seeing one in the entire city I grew up in. But somehow, we all managed to survive.

To those of you who are trying to convince others that it takes longer to rake leaves than it does to use a leaf blower, you are wrong. I have been raking leaves my whole life and there is NO way that leaf blowers are more efficient or effective. There is a landscaping company that works across the street from me that runs their leaf blower for 45 minutes just to clear an area of 20 X 2 feet. Using a rake would take half the time.



October 30, 2009 at 1:54 PM

I would like to know how many people have made complaints to the city and have had some action regarding this issue?
As "High Profile" as the city would like this to be, they rate this issue at the bottom of their "list" (see media release 10-21-09).
As for you Debbie, no matter what you write, this issue will never go away, yet you should! Maybe you could start a "green" landscape service and cut lawns with hand clippers? Think of all the clients you'll have!



October 30, 2009 at 5:07 PM

I won't be going away anytime soon, Bob - you will just have to listen to others' opinions, it's part of life. Co-existing with others in a town or a city requires people to come together and discuss issues and try to compromise. Unfortunately, your side of the aisle is rude and simply tells others to shut their mouths and plug their ears with tampons instead of offering any solutions. Another tactic on your side is to just obfuscate the issue - such as you did with your lawnmower comment. What does mowing a lawn have to do with leaf blowers, Bob? Stick to the issue at hand, or don't you have a better argument than telling me to "go away"? Instead of being insulting (and cowardly, because you don't know me and don't have to see me in person) why don't you offer a solution to the noise and the pollution caused by leaf blowers? And to answer your question: I have complained to the city directly multiple times, it is a issue that they take seriously because they receive lots of complaints and they are working on a solution. The problem of leaf blowers is real. Aside from grating on people's nerves, leaf blower emissions contribute to greenhouse gasses - and they are completely unnecessary.

Here's a clip from an article dated 10/23/09

"A Los Angeles City Council Task Force test timed a grandmother in her late 50s as she cleared an area using a rake and broom, a gas-powered leaf blower and a battery-powered blower. Using the rake and broom, she cleaned faster than she did with the battery-powered blower and almost as fast as when she used a gas-powered blower."



November 1, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Debbie, I agree that this issue is real. Yet if you look at it from a users view, the city of portland dictated which blowers are legal and if that exact model is not on "The List" then it can't be used. SO Is the city regulating the Equipment or the by product of the equipment???
It's very easy to cut back the throttle on one of these machines and be well under the noise limit.
Would you be able to tell someone what the DB you are hearing is? My point being that if someone is using a non-complience machine yet is under the max 70 db limit, will you and your friends continue to abuse city resouses in a attemped to eliminate these tools all together??? I see this as the "big Picture" agenda by the progressive people in Portland.


Aaron Mangelsdorf

November 12, 2009 at 6:34 PM

I previously posted about my feelings regarding the new blower ordinance. In that post, I commented about not getting leaf service in my area. I now stand corrected: I came home tonight and the streets look beautiful. My wife, who works from home, said that the workers from the city worked very hard in our neighborhood. I must admit, it shows.

Thank you, Portland.


spread butter

March 25, 2010 at 6:35 PM

I understand how vital it is that the leaves be blown. But if you want to be a real hero have mercy on the elderly, infirm , and kids that inhale all of your insecticides, dog pee particles, and other particulate matter that you spew like the pigs you are.


spread butter

March 25, 2010 at 6:39 PM

I believe the Japanese introduced the destructive machines. Clever.
people that i know call them DEBRIS BLOWERS. RARELY DO THE PEOple who use these machines ever bag the leaves for garbage. Usually they just enjoy the power the get from being about to blow all those gives them some satisfaction cause they have no real power in their life.



Anonymous User

April 3, 2010 at 1:43 PM

What A Crock to imply that only "FAT PEOPLE USE BLOWERS". All the people I know that use blowers are "go to people" who are motivated and get things done and they are all tall and slender. Infact, those of you who have never used a gas powered leaf blower have no idea what you're talking about. You're just making yourself look ignorant. You shouldn't comment about things you know nothing about. Backpack Blowers, which are the kind used by many companies, take alot of energy and muscle to use and leave your back/shoulders aching. I speak from experience. Oh and it's been my experience that the fat lazy people you refer to are the ones that do nothing with their leaves and let them just rot on their lawns for all of us to stare at.



January 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM

So i suppose its better to blow mass amounts of leaves into the streets to clutter up the drains so large lakes appear and make walking places inconvenient. Not to mention the noise, noxious fumes and crap thats stirred up. People who use them due to lack of time to rake are just fooling themselves. You can get a rake and do it over a few days. Im sure you can spare 30-60 mins in your day to do it the old fashion way. I understand the need to use them in some situations but it would make more sense to make a leaf "vacuum" then a blower. Just because your not fat doesn't make you lazy. Try living in the country where you have to split your own wood shovel your own snow, ect. till you've done that don't gripe about hardwork. Just like the people that don't need to pump your own gas. When you work nights trying to sleep with a blower at 8 in the morning is a royal pain. When you live in certain parts of the city where noise is amplified 3 fold, earplugs aren't much of a solution.

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