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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Like a poem I meant to write

We live in one of those Portland neighborhoods that are well connected enough, and enjoy enough street trees, to have the city come by and sweep up our fallen leaves every autumn. This is of fairly limited utility to our household, as we have just one street tree, a wonderful dogwood that doesn't make much of a mess. Our neighbor has two awful, dangerous gum trees, which don't drop their leaves until almost Christmas, and so the city service doesn't help much there. At least the cursed plums on the other side of us do their drop in a way that coincides with the city intervention. In any event, it's nice that City Hall cares enough about us to pick up what Mother Nature has deposited, on not one, but two, weekends each fall.

We had our first leaf sweep-up of 2009 yesterday, and for those who think the city shouldn't be doing it, we have good news: They're barely doing it. They used to come through in several passes, using at least two different types of machines, and by the end of the process you could eat off the street. This year, for the first time, they made one pass to sweep up the big stuff but left behind a coating of ground-up leaves that makes quite a mucky mess on every car passing through the 'hood.

What they did will no doubt help in preventing storm drains from being blocked, and those urban lakes from forming, at intersections around us. But as far as being a convenience to the neighbors, don't over-estimate it. We'll still be out there with a rake and a broom during a few "sun breaks" during the month of December. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Comments (15)

Well, I also am lucky enough to have the two time leaf pick up each year, and mine is on Monday. Word on the brochure was that to save money, they were only washing the streets the second time they picked the leaves up. Sounds like pushing around wet, decompsing leaves had the same effect I thought it would. Yuck.

Have cedar droppings rather than leaves. However, have just read an article that brings Director Park to mind:


Seems of local interest. First sentence makes it worth the bother.

djtv, at least you have prior notification as to when and what's up. The leaf pickup here in the slums of North Portland, was conducted last Sunday morning at 7:30 unannounced. Along with the beautiful tree lined streets and 99% of the residents sleeping in and their cars parked at the curb, not much was accomplished other than the center of the streets were nicely cleaned, at least for a short time, until the wind churned up and moved most of the legally parked tree parts back into the street and down the sewer system. Awesome job wasting money.

I was 21 years when I wrote this song.
I'm 22 now, but I won't be for long...

The city is hitting every street in my neighborhood with a sewer-vac. If they don't get the leaves off the streets, they're sucking them out of the sewer.

Consider yourself lucky if you have anything...we live just a few blocks from the pick up area zone and fork out an extra $100 a year in leaf bags and extra pick up fees just for the two huge maples in our sidewalk strip.

an extra $100 a year in leaf bags and extra pick up fees

We try to minimize the pickup fees by setting out our yard debris one rolling cart full at a time, even in peak periods. We go through some leaf bags, but the cost isn't too bad.

Everything which falls in the yard, on the walk, or in the parking strip goes into my compost. Everything which falls in the street, stays in the street. I scrape it out beyond the door exit margin and the traffic mulches it. That way, when it hits the drain, it's small enough to join the exodus to the river, where it will encourage the bacterial growth engendered by the other elements of the raw sewage.

The city encouraged us to plant the trees and prevents us from removing them...but has no responsibility for what transpires from them and around them.....that sounds just about as irresponsible as I'd expect.

Hey- Bojack! The "dangerous gum" and "cursed plum" trees by your home are working hard every day to help clean the air of the pollution you put into it and giving your lovely family oxygen. Show them a little appreciation, okay?

When I was living on N. Greeley, the tree people came by pushing the planting of trees along the street. The only problem, as I saw it, was that the grass meridian between the sidewalk and the street was only about 2-3 feet deep. Any idiot could see what was going to happen and it did. The branches of the trees that were planted soon extended into the sidewalk and the street, preventing pedestrians from using the sidewalk easily and drivers from parking along the curb without branches either scraping the sides of cars or breaking off when passengers tried to exit on the sidewalk side. No doubt there will be sidewalk upheaval as the trees grow and extend their root systems. I can't begin to express how short-sighted this planting project was - at least on our block. There ought to be a generous minimum amount of space present before any planting of trees occurs, just as there must be a compelling reason for removing mature trees.

are working hard every day to help clean the air of the pollution you put into it and giving your lovely family oxygen.

Spare me the sermonette. I like trees, but neither of those varieties has any business being planted in an urban parking strip. Rip them out for ornamental pear, dogwood, or many other suitable types.

.... dude....... Jesus Christ........ you cannot really be serious, right?.......

...... an evil dogwood tree?.... errant leaves?....... the curse of having a gum tree in your lawn?.......

... the evils of living the "city" life?......

..... c'mon, man......... I have always loved reading you..... and your cousin Jimbo has gotten himself hammered here at my house many, many times over the last five years........

... but worrying about leaves, trees, and raking duties as a reason to freak out?....... brother, you are above all this........ you are ABOVE all of it..... so please seek something else to be angry about......


Eric, first of all, we don't do reviews in the comments here.

Second, the gum tree damn near killed somebody earlier this week.

I love the dogwood.

The plums drop crap all over everything all summer. If it's no big deal, come on out and help me and the neighbors deal with it. All we want are some nice trees of our own choosing, that we pay for, and not what the city tells us we're stuck with.

And BTW, I'm not angry about it. If I were angry, all three of said trees would have accidentally had copper nails pounded into them by an unknown source a long time ago.

As a resident of Maplewood, we don't benefit from leaf pick-up, although given the name you'd think we'd be on the short list. My three 80-year old maples produce a prodigious amount of leaves, and I rake up every damn one of them, mulch what I can, and haul the rest to the leaf depots. I've always wondered about the legality of providing city services to some residents but not others. I assume the City has criteria for selecting neighborhoods, but I guarantee my house has more of a leaf "problem" than many that do get City pick-up. Has anyone done a legal analysis of the code?

I just heard from a friend living in China. In her town, city workers come through before the leaves drop and heavily prune the trees. Then more workers come through and pick up the branches, and then trucks come by and pick up the debris. No leaves left on the trees--problem solved!

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