PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland City Council will likely consider a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in early 2024 as the city and Multnomah County transition to more eco-friendly models out of health and environmental safety concerns, officials said.
According to Commissioner Carmen Rubio’s Chief of Staff, Jillian Schoene, Rubio and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson convened a workgroup over the last year to discuss an equitable citywide transition to electric or battery-powered leaf blowers.
Rubio’s office said that “the policy will likely come before Council early next year.”
This comes after both the city and county already passed resolutions to move away from gas-powered leaf blowers to mitigate the health and environmental impacts of pollution for residents and frontline workers, Schoene said — noting timelines and incentives for the ban are still to be determined.
“Commissioner Rubio has shared with staff that it is important there is appropriate outreach and engagement with our landscaping community,” Schoene said. “Staff will work toward a schedule that provides adequate time to assist with the transition for our frontline workers. Likewise, the city and county are committed to making sure there is financial support to incentivize this transition. Multnomah County has committed to provide funding, enforcement, outreach, and rebates as we transition to this ban.”
As Multnomah County considered a resolution to phase out gas-powered leaf blowers in 2021, Vega-Pederson stated, “we need to be doing everything we can to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, and that means phasing out old technologies like gas-powered leaf blowers.”
She continued, “banning these devices would lower our carbon emissions, reduce air pollution, and improve our environment. It’s a win-win-win.”
The county previously pointed to studies that found the best-selling models of gas-powered leaf blowers emit “the same amount of smog-forming pollution as driving a Toyota Camry about 1,100 miles, or the distance from Portland to San Diego,” after one hour of use.
The U.S. Environmental Agency has also found that pollution from gas-powered leaf blowers can adversely impact health — causing diseases including cancer and heart disease.