If you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the city with significant numbers of leaf-producing trees, get ready for Leaf Day!
You can prepare for your designated Leaf Day by following the city’s guidelines, which include moving vehicles from the street and only raking leaves (yard debris goes in your green Portland Composts bin) by the curb.
Residents of Portland’s Leaf Districts are billed $15 to $30 because the city spends extra time clearing the streets in these well-canopied neighborhoods. It’s a great deal if you have a lot of leaves and you don’t want to keep them on site.
Getting leaves off your lawn keeps it healthy. Raking leaves off pavement increases safety and acts as preventative care for streets and sewers. Slippery leaves can be dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. Leaves can also clog sewer drains, which can be dangerous, unhealthy, and costly to fix. In addition, leaves that collect in streets can degrade the street surface by wearing away pavement and requiring the city to repave, ultimately making an extra cost for residents.
Portland single-family households and residents in buildings with four or fewer units are encouraged to add both leaves and food scraps to their green Portland Composts bin for weekly pickup.
Additional yard debris bags can be left at the curb, but you'll be charged $4 per bag for disposal.
Composting reduces the waste while creating nutrient-rich compost to enrich our soil, minimize erosion, and reduce weed growth. Since the weekly green bin pickup program started, Portland has reduced it's residential garbage by 40%.
Find your collection schedule here.
Getting leaves off your lawn increases safety and acts as preventative care for streets and sewers. Slippery leaves can be dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. They can also back up or clog sewer drains, which can be dangerous, unhealthy, and costly to fix. In addition, leaves that collect in streets can degrade the street surface by wearing away pavement and requiring the city to repave, ultimately making an extra cost for residents.
You can turn your lawn cuttings, leaves, and kitchen scraps into plant food yourself and create your own organic, nutrient-rich soil. Metro offers easy-to-follow tips on composting and sells a variety of compost bins at reasonable costs. Choose the composting method that suits you and your family – from worm bins to open-air or hot composting. Portland Parks & Recreation and Clackamas Community College even offer demonstration sites where you can learn about composting firsthand.
Leaves provide much-needed nutrients and plant material to your home compost bin. They can help jump-start your next batch of compost after the leaves have been harvested in the fall. If you shred the leaves before adding them to your compost, they’ll decompose more quickly.
Your composting will make dark, crumbly, nutrition-rich organic material. You can use the mulch to enhance the soil in your garden, enrich your lawn, and/or add it around the base of your trees and shrubs. Using mulch that's several inches thick, with a three-inch clearance directly around the trunk, will help your trees grow, minimize weed growth, and reduce your watering costs.
Alternately, instead of adding leaves to compost, you can use shredded leaves directly as mulch around plants and trees to control weeds during the winter and to keep moisture in the soil during dryer times.
Home composting saves money by cutting back on the cost of fertilizer and store-bought mulch as well as keeping harmful chemicals out of our environment.
Friends of Trees encourages community groups and congregations in Portland to join in the harvest. We recognize that trees come with leaves, and when the leaves fall, they need to be harvested from streets, sidewalks, and lawns. We also recognize that while most Portlanders are physically able to rake their leaves, other Portlanders need help.
We don’t have a list of people needing or offering this service, but you can work with your congregation, neighborhood watch group, Loaves & Fishes, or other local agencies to find residents in need.
Our hope is that in 2013, we will be able to coordinate leaf harvesting groups.
Vancouver’s website offers a coupon for free leaf disposal. Beginning October 1, three Vancouver depots will be open to collect leaves (no yard debris) through December 20.
Depots will be set up at the following locations: H&H Wood Recyclers (8401 NE 117th Avenue), West Van Materials Recovery Center (6601 NW Old Lower River Road), and McFarlane’s Bark (8806 NE 117th Avenue). Hours vary, so check the back of your printable leaf coupon for details.
If you’re served by Clean Water Services, you can bring your leaves, grass clippings, and non-perishable food to Clean Water Services’ free Leaf Disposal and Food Drive. Stop by between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 17, or Saturday, December 8, at the parking lots of Aloha High School (corner of 185th and Madeline) and Home Depot (13700 NW Science Park Drive).