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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 30, 2011 10:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Hard to believe. The next post in this blog is Have a great weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, September 30, 2011

Portland leaf tax collection didn't go so well after all

Last year, when the City of Portland instituted its leaf tax, the surprising news was that thousands of Portlanders were readily paying it, even though it was voluntary. More than a third of affected residents were said to have pungled up. That didn't sound right then, and we've still got our doubts.

But whatever came in, it apparently wasn't anywhere near what they were expecting. An alert reader points out this passage from the city's current budget document:

Wonder what the "collection issues" are. To us, the only issue is why anyone would be fool enough to send the wastrels at Portland City Hall a nickel more than they absolutely have to.

Comments (25)

Leaf Collection shortfall issues probably are contract bill collector fees.

Just need to find a stamp and I'll be mailing in my opt-out form. What a clusterf**k this whole program has been. There's always plenty of money for streetcars and condos and sports stadiums, but never enough for basic services like stepped-up street cleaning during the leaf season. But fine, if there's no money, just end the program outright and fine property owners whose leaves are creating a safety hazard or storm-drain blockage. Instead we get a convoluted system of schedules and fees and opt-outs, as well as a snazzy mailer and website, all promoted with happy double-talk as "look at this wonderful service we're offering!" They wanted to save money, but with people opting out and all of staff time and attendant salaries and bennies that are going into planning and implementing the program they'll be looking at a net loss.

Eric, if you can manage to get to the internet (and your comments strongly suggest that you can), you can save the stamp. Though, of course, your Postal Service would thank you for using one.

The opt-out card has the property address and the leaf-removal account number they use on it; the online opt-out form only asks for name and phone number. I want to be sure the opt-out is correctly applied, and can't take any chances given the hash they made of the process last year (see Steve Duin's column of earlier this week).

PBOT has plenty of money!

How do I know?

They just spent thousands putting speed bumps on Alameda street against the wishes of the residents.

If they can waste money delaying fire trucks and ambulances, they have too much money.

They spent more thousands on bike lanes and bike only (almost) streets.

It is time for a complete house cleaning at city hall.


"To us, the only issue is why anyone would be fool enough to send the wastrels at Portland City Hall a nickel more than they absolutely have to."

I was so outraged when voters in 2004 approved the Multnomah County (flat, no deductions) income tax I didn't threaten to leave, I did. It's not always just "something" in Portland, it is so many, too many, of them.

...It's not always just "something" in Portland, it is so many, too many, of them.

Enough already! In my view, it is bordering on abuse.
We do have lives and don't need all this interference/plans over us. Way too much busy work...just take care of basics and the people might be happy for a change instead of shaking heads week after week wondering what idea they will force on us next.

I contend the fee is illegal, but for different reasons than Jack thinks it is illegal.

I defy anyone to find anything in state or local laws that mandate that property owners keep the streets abutting their properties free of leaves.

[Please ... someone ... anyone ... show me any law or ordinance that says I must pick up the leaves that are on city streets!]

This is important because the city now allows opting out only if you (1) have no leaves, or (2) take care of the leaves yourself.

Sad, I guess this means not to expect potholes or traffic slowdowns to be fixed soon - if ever.

Here are the administrative rules regarding street leaf removal program.

Sue the bastards and ask for legal fees if you win.

Here is the portion of the City Charter dealing with property owner responsibility for streets:

Still found nothing saying that property owners abutting city streets are responsible in any way for leaf pick up.

Garage Wine,
Well your insurance company might have something to say about it if someone slipped and fell due to your negligence removing hazards from your property.

Pistolero: I hope your joking. I don't own the street in front of my house. According to the city code cited above, when the city took over the street, my obligations to maintain the street were transferred to the city.

Sidewalks are yours, streets, I agree, city property. Remember, they "let" you park in front of your house unless they rent it too you.

Sidewalks & streets are public ROW--they are controlled by jurisdiction.

This is one of those times when I wish I had so much money I could hire a huge hauler, fill it with leaves and compost too, and just go and dump it all on the grounds of the city hall.
Make that several huge trucks!

I have no trees that drop leaves therefore I shall not pay their silly "fee"...

Garage Wine is absolutely correct that leaves that fall on the street are the city's responsibility, not the homeowner's.

As an extension of the (city's) logic that I, the homeowner, has a responsibility to keep the street adjacent to my property clear of debris, I should be able to have a vehicle illegally stored in front of my home towed. But I can't.

It seems to me the city wants to take responsibility when it is convenient for them (e.g. allowing free vehicle storage on the streets) but wants to the property owner to assume responsibility when it is inconvenient for them (e.g. fall leaf cleaning). Can the city have it both ways? A legal challenge to the leaf tax would certainly be interesting, to say the least.

A legal challenge to much of what they do would certainly not only be interesting,
but is well past the point of desperately being needed!!

Another angle related to this issue has occurred to me. As we all know, the city has big plans to extend streetcars to every corner of Portland. As streetcar lines expand, they are sure to go into areas with a lot more trees overhead than the current downtown lines. I'm sure streetcars can go over most leaf debris with ease, but how many inches' build up will cause a problem? Will property owners along the new lines have to keep leaves off the tracks so the streetcar doesn't derail? Will the city clean these streets more often, charging adjacent property owners' a special tax?

Interesting angle,
however, the plan may be to just get rid of most trees, only some very little street trees will be left in our green pdx.
That may be why the nice trees on Lincoln were recently chopped down - for the rails!

clinamen: for all your moaning, do you even need to pay this fee?

Re: "Garage Wine is absolutely correct that leaves that fall on the street are the city's responsibility, not the homeowner's."


Try getting Parks & Recreation to acknowledge responsibility for
the leaves from city parks.

Doesn't matter, we all pay anyway.
Did you see the $300,000 shortfall in the budget due to Leaf Program collection issues?

My complaint is with the constant interference in our lives with the city's agenda and busy work.

Happen to have evergreens where I live, but far too many of them have been slaughtered to make room for development. So until you have walked in my shoes and witnessed what I have, you have no clue.

It is time you take a peek behind the curtain, Aaron!


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
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King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
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Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
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Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
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John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
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David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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