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Portland Bureau of Transportation

We keep Portland moving

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Frequently Asked Questions

 Leaf Day

 

Leaf Day Basics

 

About Leaf Day

 

Leaf Day Service


 

Leaf Day Basics

 

How can I find out whether I'm in a Leaf Service Zone?

More than 26 percent of Portland's streets are lined with larger, more mature trees that drop significantly more leaves than the rest of the city. These streets require more equipment and crew-power to clean and maintain, so we've divided them into 30 Leaf Service Zones.

*To verify what zone you are in and confirm your service dates, enter your address below:

LEAF ZONE LOCATOR (enter your street address)

If you are not in a Leaf Service Zone or if you opt out of the Leaf Day Pickup Service, you may not rake your leaves into the street. Only customers in a leaf service zone who pay for the service are sanctioned by the city to rake their leaves into the street. See City Code regarding unlawful obstruction of a roadway, curb or sidewalk.

Call 503-865-LEAF (5323) to speak to a customer service representative Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email leafday@portlandoregon.gov.

 

How much does it cost?

  • Residential customers, one service date: $15 (low income: $5)
  • Residential customers, two service dates: $30 (low income: $10)
  • Residential customers in Inner Westside (NW 1-4, SW 1) and Sullivan's Gulch (NE 7): $30
  • Multi-family properties greater than 4 units: $65
  • Commercial properties with a street frontage greater than 76 feet: $65

To see if you meet the low-income requirements, click here.

 

What do I get for my Leaf Day fee?

For a nominal fee, the Bureau of Transportation takes care of your street leaves for you. We take care of your street tree leaves, AND ANY leaves from any trees on your property. Simply rake them into the street the day before we come by, and you're done. On your scheduled Leaf Pickup Day(s), our crews will push, load and haul the leaves away to be composted and turned into fresh mulch.  You then will receive a bill for the service. 

If you are not in a Leaf Service Zone or if you opt out of the Leaf Day Pickup Service, you may not rake your leaves into the street. Only customers in a Leaf Service Zone who pay for the service are sanctioned by the city to rake leaves into the street. See City Code regarding unlawful obstruction of a roadway, curb or sidewalk.

 

When is it happening?

Our crews are scheduled to remove leaves starting the first week of November and continuing through mid-December. To view this year's schedule, click here.

 

What do I need to do, if anything?

Here are several actions we strongly recommend to take full advantage of the Leaf Day Pickup Service:

  • Verify what zone you are in and confirm your service dates by entering your address below:

LEAF ZONE LOCATOR (enter your street address)

 

  • Or call 503-865-LEAF (5323) to speak to a customer service representative Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • On the day before your scheduled Leaf Day, rake your street leaves 12 inches from the curb.
  • If you have leaves from other trees on your property, rake them into the street the day before your Leaf Day.
  • Move your car and any other obstacles off the street on your Leaf Day(s).
  • If it is not possible to move a car off the street, rake your leaves away from the curb and beyond the car into the middle of the street so that our crews can pick them up.
  • Note that if you're in a Leaf Zone labeled Northwest 1-4, Southwest 1, part of Southeast 2 (Buckman) or Northeast 7, moving your car is not optional. To learn more, click here.

If you are not in a Leaf Service Zone or if you opt out of the Leaf Day Pickup Service, you may not rake your leaves into the street. Only customers in a leaf service zone who pay for the service are sanctioned by the city to rake their leaves into the street. See City Code regarding unlawful obstruction of a roadway, curb or sidewalk.

 

Do I have to move my car?

If you'd like the street in front of your property to be the cleanest we can get it, it's smart to move your car on your Leaf Day(s) so that our machines can get right to the curb to remove leaves and clean the street.

If on Leaf Day, someone else's car is parked in front of your property, please ask them to move their car. If that is not possible, please do your best to rake your leaves away from the curb and beyond the car into the middle of the street so that our machines can pick up your leaves.

YES - If you're in a neighborhood with Leaf Day parking enforcement

If your property is in the Inner Westside of Portland (Zones Northwest 1-4 and Southwest 1) or in Sullivan's Gulch (Zone Northeast 7)  you must move your car or it will be ticketed and towed. These neighborhoods have asked for parking enforcement during Leaf Day because of the high number of vehicles parked on the street preventing our crews from picking up the leaves. Any cars on the street during Leaf Day in these neighborhoods will be towed at their owner's expense.  The current (2014) City parking citation is $80 plus towing fees. To locate your vehicle, call Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044.

NO - If you're NOT in a neighborhood with Leaf Day parking enforcement

If you're not in one of those zones, you're under no legal obligation to move your car. You won't be towed or ticketed. We do ask that you move your car, however, so you'll get a better clean in front of your property.

Click here for a one-page notice you may place on the windshield of any car parked on the street to remind people to move their car off the street for Leaf Day.

 

Are there any Leaf Depots this year?

No. Leaf depots have been discontinued. Even with an increase in fees the last few years, the City didn't recover the operating costs of providing the service. Leaf depot usage dropped steadily the last several years due to more options for people to manage their leaves themselves (curbside yard debris service, onsite composting, and self-hauling to recycling centers). With the Street Leaf Removal Fee, our crews pick up all yard leaves, not just leaves from street trees, making it okay for people who pay the fee to rake leaves from their yard into the street. This reduces the demand for leaf depots. In addition, the City now provides weekly curbside yard debris pickup, making it even easier for people to manage their leaves through their curbside hauler. Note that haulers may charge for extra yard debris bags.

For information on self-haul recycling centers for disposal of leaves and other yard debris, contact Metro Recycling at 503-234-3000.


 

About Leaf Day

 

When and how was this leaf removal fee established?

The concept of a fee for service was recommended by a Citizen Budget Advisory Committee to help cover costs of leaf removal. The City Council included the leaf removal fee in the Fiscal Year 2010-11 adopted budget and directed the Bureau of Transportation via City Ordinance 183829 to collect a fee to fund the leaf removal program. 

It is not a tax, and it is not voluntary; however, customers do have the right to opt out of the fee if they manage their street leaves themselves or if they don't have any street trees in the planting strip between the street and the sidewalk. For information on opting out, click here. For the Street Leaf Removal Program Administrative Rules, click here.

Please note that the deadline to opt out is 5 p.m. on November 1, 2012.

 

Why do we have to get rid of leaves that have fallen in the street?

Two reasons: safety and preventive care of streets and sewers. 

When our streets become carpeted with leaves in the autumn, it's to everyone's advantage that they get swept up. First, slippery leaves make for dangerous passage when we're pedestrians, bicyclists and even car drivers. Sweeping them up also keeps sewer drains from clogging or backing up. That's not only dangerous but also unhealthy and costly to fix. Finally, fallen leaves can actually degrade the street surface, which means we'll all have to pay to repave that much sooner. 

In short, cleaning up leaves now actually saves us money in the long run.

Your participation in the annual leaf pickup, either through paying your fee or managing your street leaves yourself, helps protect Portland's urban forest and transportation infrastructure. Thank you.

 

Which neighborhoods get Leaf Day Service?

Leaf Day Service spans 30 "Zones" across the city with higher than average number of trees and amounts of fallen tree leaves. A list is here. A map of the Leaf Service Zones is here.

 

How did you choose which neighborhoods get Leaf Day Service?

About 26 percent of the city has a dense volume of street trees. In the fall, the leaves from these trees can clog our drains, cause dangerous conditions and degrade our asphalt. The sheer volume of leaves can't effectively be cleaned by our regular street cleaning equipment. So for those areas, we have to push, load and haul the street leaves before we can clean the streets to ensure that streets are safe for everyone to use and so that leaves don't clog stormwater drains and flood streets.

 

How did you decide the leaf pickup schedule?

The fall leaf season is short. When leaves fall from late October to mid-December, removing them from the streets in the city's Leaf Service Area is critical. Based on experience, observation and neighborhood feedback, the City's leaf program does its best to schedule leaf pickup on dates when the highest volume of leaves has fallen in each Leaf Service Zone. Crews work 7 days a week and 10 hours a day for 6 weeks to pick up the leaves, haul them away, and clean the streets in these 30 Zones. Zones with the greatest density of trees have two scheduled pickups to get the job done.

We know that Mother Nature can bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, and early snow and ice that impact when the leaves will fall, and we know that milder weather can delay the seasonal leaf fall. We can't change our schedule to accommodate Nature's schedule because the same crews that pick up street leaves are the same crews that clean the other 75 percent of streets in the city that don't receive the leaf pickup service and the same crews that transition to snow and ice operations in winter. Street cleaning equipment cannot operate in temperatures below freezing.

 

I don't live in one of the city's 30 leaf zones. Will my street get cleaned?

Yes, but there is no scheduled leaf pickup for your street. The City cleans every residential street once a year. Altogether, crews clean 4,022 miles within the City of Portland, including 1,990 miles of residential streets, 1,989 miles of arterial streets, and 43 miles of streets in the central business district. All major arterials get swept 3-4 times per year. 

If you are not in a Leaf Service Zone or if you opt out of the Leaf Day Pickup Service, you may not rake your leaves into the street. Only customers in a leaf service zone who pay for the service are sanctioned by the city to rake their leaves into the street. See City Code regarding unlawful obstruction of a roadway, curb or sidewalk.


 

Leaf Day Service

 

Will you take tree leaves from elsewhere on my property?

Yes. If you are in a Leaf Service Zone and pay the fee for service, our crews will take away any tree leaves from your property. All you need to do is rake them into the street the day before your scheduled Leaf Day. All other yard debris should be placed in the yard debris bin provided by your garbage hauler. 

If you are not in a Leaf Service Zone or if you opt out of the Leaf Day Pickup Service, you may not rake your leaves into the street. Only customers in a leaf service zone who pay for the service are sanctioned by the city to rake their leaves into the street. See City Code regarding unlawful obstruction of a roadway, curb or sidewalk.

 

What do I need to do to prepare for Leaf Day?

Check out these tips

 

Do I have to move my car?

If you'd like the street in front of your property to be the cleanest we can get it, it's smart to move your car on your Leaf Day(s) so that our machines can get right to the curb to remove leaves and clean the street.

If on Leaf Day, someone else's car is parked in front of your property, please ask them to move their car. If that is not possible, please do your best to rake your leaves away from the curb and beyond the car into the middle of the street so that our machines can pick up your leaves.

YES - If you're in a neighborhood with Leaf Day parking enforcement

If your property is in the Inner Westside of Portland (Zones Northwest 1-4 and Southwest 1) or in Sullivan's Gulch (Zone Northeast 7), you must move your car or it will be ticketed and towed. These neighborhoods have asked for parking enforcement during leaf day because of the high number of vehicles parked on the street preventing our crews from picking up the leaves. Any cars on the street during Leaf Day in these neighborhoods will be towed at their owners' expense. The current (2014) parking citation is $80 plus towing fees. To locate your vehicle, call Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044.

NO - If you're NOT in a neighborhood with Leaf Day parking enforcement

If you're not in one of those Zones, you're under no legal obligation to move your car. You won't be towed or ticketed. We do ask that you move your car, however, so you'll get a better clean in front of your property.

Click here for a one-page notice you may place on the windshield of any car parked on the street to remind people to move their car off the street for Leaf Day.

 

Why are Inner Westside and Sullivan's Gulch zones different?

Leaf Zones Northwest 1-4 and Southwest 1 have the densest parking in the city with limited off-street parking. To provide better service, these Inner Westside neighborhoods have requested the cars left on the street on Leaf Day be ticketed and towed. 

Leaf Zone Northeast 7 - Sullivan's Gulch - is located adjacent to a busy MAX station. People often park in the neighborhood and walk to the station, preventing our crews from cleaning the street. To provide better service, the Sullivan's Gulch neighborhood has requested the cars left on the street on Leaf Day be ticketed and towed.

 

Will you take away all my yard debris?

No. Our crews will only push, load and haul your leaves. Any other yard debris -- like twigs, branches, needles and grass clippings -- must be disposed of some other way, either as part of the normal yard debris service your hauler offers, or composted on site. 

Our crews will take any tree leaves from your property if you just rake them into the street the day before your Leaf Day(s).

If you are not in a Leaf Service Zone or if you opt out of the Leaf Day Pickup Service, you may not rake your leaves into the street. Only customers in a leaf service zone who pay for the service are sanctioned by the city to rake their leaves into the street. See City Code regarding unlawful obstruction of a roadway, curb or sidewalk.

  

Why do some zones get two service dates, and others only one?

If you're in a two-service zone, your neighborhood has enough falling leaves that the trucks and crews have to come through twice to do the best job. So if you're in a zone receiving two services, don't worry that your street isn't super clean after the first service: there's more to come. 

If you're in a one-day service zone, that means the tree leaf debris is small enough to be removed with one service.

 

What can I expect to see after each scheduled leaf pickup service?

If your property is in a one-day service zone, crews will be coming through your neighborhood once to push leaves into piles at intersections, load leaves into trucks, and haul them away to a recycling facility where they will be composted. PLUS, street sweepers will sweep your street and flush it with water on the same day. 

The sweepers may follow an hour or two after the leaves are hauled away so if the first crew leaves before the sweepers arrive, don't worry. They will soon be on your street.

If your property is in a two-day service zone, crews will be coming through your neighborhood twice. On the first scheduled pickup date, crews will push leaves into piles at intersections, load leaves into trucks, and haul them away to a recycling facility. You can expect to see some leaf debris on the street because street sweepers and flushing trucks will not be used during this first scheduled pickup. 

On the second scheduled pickup date, crews will again push, load, and haul leaves. PLUS street sweepers will sweep your street and flush it with water. This second pickup will result in a much cleaner street because your street will be swept and flushed.