It's sort of like Festivus

 Oh, how we've waited for this moment! The City of Portland notified us today that yes, Leaf Day is coming!

Thanks be to God. I though it might get canceled with the plague and all.

Leaf Day is the day – actually, there are two days, one in November and one in December – when city crews come down the streets and sweep fallen leaves out of the gutters. This keeps the leaves out of the sewer drains and prevents flooding, but the city would have you believe that they're conferring some priceless private benefit on everyone who lives here.

In fact, for several years there, residents whose streets were swept were charged a "fee" of $30 per house for this "service." You could "opt out" if you swept up the leaves in front of your home and signed an affidavit (I kid you not). But the bike lane bureaucrats had their hand out if you didn't complete the paperwork.

The origins of the leaf "fee" were classic Portlandia. The neighborhoods whose leaves aren't swept up by the city complained that the swept neighborhoods were getting preferential treatment. This griping went on for decades, but under the reign of Mayor Creepy Sam Adams and Admiral Randy Leonard, the City Council found a solution. 

It's the solution that Oregon politicians have for everything: a new tax! The neighborhoods that got swept would have to pay! Maybe then the neighborhoods that didn't get swept would pipe down.

The leaf tax was in effect for several years, and the non-swept did stop their bellyaching, but a couple of years ago, the City Council killed this "fee." I don't know what prompted that. It's rare that politicians would kill an existing tax. Maybe somebody (besides me) seriously questioned its legality. I'm sure it cost almost as much to administer as the amount it brought in.

We opted out every year, and I raked up in front of Blog Central on the eve of each Leaf Day. They never got a penny from this household.

But boy, we do get our share of literature over this. This year, it came in an envelope. There's a glossy folder and a schedule reminding us that it's free! Free! Free!

Sheesh, I would have thought a postcard would suffice. No wonder the city needs a $100 million line of credit.

Anyway, there won't be much for the sweepers to take at our place this year. Back during the wildfire smoke emergency in mid-September, the skies were so dark for so many days that our tree and the neighbors' trees all thought it was autumn and dropped about a third of their leaves. When the sun reappeared, things went back to normal with the remaining foliage, but when it falls, it won't make much of a pile.

Anyway, we await with unbearable anticipation the coming of Leaf Day, a true Portland celebration. And you don't even have to pay $30 any more.


  1. Always love it when something is marketed as "Free". Nothing is free. Somebody is paying for it. Wonder who that somebody might be?


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