You recently signed up for updates about our local group's efforts to transition away from gas-powered leaf blowers in Portland, Multnomah County, and Oregon. This article from James Fallon in this month's Atlantic caused me to jump for joy and prompted me to write. And, if you prefer video - see below.
Currently, our group is working on a lot of different fronts while also working on our messaging - what shall we call ourselves? What's our main focus - banning or transitioning to electric? Shall we focus on gas-powered leaf blowers or all gas-powered lawn equipment? - these are all questions we're discussing in a bi-weekly meeting. Meanwhile, other things are happening - some in our group are reaching out via Nextdoor - to ask our neighbors to reach out to their lawn care companies directly with language like this:

Feel free to take this and run with it - post it on Social media - download this as a pdf - you can also take this whole newsletter and share it using the share buttons above...

To Our Lawn Care Company,
We would appreciate your taking care of our property without using gas leaf blowers in the landscaping process. There are many reasons for this request - the obvious issue of neighborhood noise, the dangerous health effects for you and your workers, air pollution, and carbon emissions - that have been outlined below. Raking leaves and other debris would be our first choice; the use of a battery operated leaf blower is an alternative. Thank you very much for your service and for honoring this request.

Health and Environmental Effects of Leaf Blowers:
 1. Noise:  The risks of hearing loss and other negative health effects related to leaf blowers are clearly worst for the user, but also affect nearby homeowners, passersby and even neighbors farther away from the source.
 2. Toxic emissions and other pollution:   Pollution comes from two sources -
 - The machine itself which emits an unburned gas and oil aerosol as well as other toxic chemicals and particulates such as carbon monoxide, benzene and formaldehyde. The hydrocarbons emitted by a leaf blower contribute to smog and ozone production in amounts far greater than that of an automobile.  
 - The dust that is thrown up by the blower. Besides being a general irritant, this dust may contain pollens, molds and other allergens, dried animal feces, and pesticide and herbicide residues from lawn and garden care.
 3. Carbon emissions:  Carbon dioxide, one of the “greenhouse gases” that contributes to climate change, is emitted in small amounts in all gas-powered leaf blowers.  
And, there's so much more. We're meeting with our representatives at all levels of government and talking to them, too. And, we're reaching out to larger organizations like OHSU and Nike to see if they would be willing to transition. There's a lot going on. Oh, and statewide legislation to ban leaf-blowers in Oregon is also happening - have a look at HB 3550 which was just introduced last week. And which has now been referred to the Energy and Environment Committee today - 3.11.19 - Feel free to reach out to your state reps. to ask them to sign onto and support this legislation.

So, we are very much a DIY shop at this point - please feel free to take the ball and run with it in any way you wish to. Have a favorite environmental group that you wish would get behind this? OEC? Sierra Club? Have a lawn care company that you wish would be doing things differently? Want to help with a Leave the Leaves campaign? Please take action - contact your legislator and ask them to become a co-sponsor of HB3350.

Thank you, and we'll be in touch as we move forward. Feel free to also ask friends to join this newsletter by sharing this link:

For a better, quieter, cleaner world - without gas-powered leaf blowers!

Albert Kaufman, 3.11.19