"The leaf fee and associated removal service makes sense in some neighborhoods and not in others. My own (SE 22nd and Pine) is a good example of where it doesn't work. This neighborhood is populated by a higher-than-normal percentage of renters. As such, the leaves are not removed when compared with concentrations of owner-occupied homes. No matter how many hours I spend removing leaves, there are always more to pick up. Combine that with the inadequate stormwater removal grates in the intersection, the inevitable leaves covering them in a downpour and you have flooding...sometimes as deep as 2 1/2 feet." —Harley Leiber

"The streets are the city's to maintain, and the property owner already pays for this and the leaf removal via property taxes. This is just another money-grab scheme from city hall. They find $20 million for bike paths, but then they nickel-and-dime us on leaf removal. What's next, pothole repair fees? The city that works, doesn't." —Steve B

"It's funny, but not surprising, that in this prolonged controversy and discussion of the city's leaf removal program, there's been little mention of the fundamental inequity with the pre-fee situation. This is the fact that some neighborhoods (i.e., some residents) received special, concentrated leaf removal while others did not.  Hence the fee approach, which turned out to be a PR disaster; low-hanging fruit for all the anti-government ranters, not to mention the dedicated legion of Adams-haters. 

There's no easy answer that's both effective and fair. To say 'They're the city's trees' is factually and legally inaccurate; to say 'Let all residents deal with the leaves themselves' ignores the very real problems masses of uncollected leaves would create with street flooding and in the stormwater system. Trying to enforce some sort of mandatory leaf removal requirement is not within the resources of the city, and who'd want a legion of leaf inspectors anyway? Ultimately this is just one of many civic issues whose solution relies on the simple sense of common responsibility for our common good, i.e.,  be a good citizen, pick up the leaves from the street in front of where you live, and dispose of them properly.” —Jim G

"This program is problematic. There are people on my block who don't have any trees but will be charged for this service. I would rather just rake them myself and put them in the yard waste bin, like I did this year. I am generally willing to pay for such services, but it becomes a lot harder when I feel like the city is blowing through cash on luxuries that I don't think are necessary. Maybe if they were more responsible with their money they wouldn't be constantly raising rates and fees. I would love to at least see them try." —Schemes

Letters to the editor must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.
Fax: (503) 243-1115, Email: mzusman@wweek.com