March 24, 2022

We have lots of updates for you in this month's newsletter. Read on and enjoy, and thank you for your continued support.

News from Portland Public Schools

Another victory! Many thanks to all the Quiet Clean PDX supporters who urged the Portland Public Schools Board to pass a bold Climate Crisis Response, Climate Justice, and Sustainable Practice Policy at their March 1st meeting. The Portland Mercury touted it as one of the strongest climate policies in the nation for a school district. This policy will guide PPS in addressing the climate crisis and ensuring our schools are safe, healthy, resilient spaces for children to learn and grow. It includes a specific commitment to phase out gas-powered grounds maintenance equipment. The photos we submitted of leaf blower make-work at Alameda Elementary School (that is, a half dozen workers blowing pavement with no leaves in sight) likely helped! 

Other Victories

In January the City of Miami Beach joined the growing list of cities with gas leaf blower bans. Ordinance 2022-4460 prohibits the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within the city and encourages the operation of electric and battery-powered equipment in a manner that reduces noise. Congratulations to Herb Frank and Miami Beach United, which pushed for the ban! (To our knowledge, Naples is the only other city in Florida with a similar ban.) More info here.

News from our Partners (and Others)

A number of you have asked if Quiet Clean PDX could widen its scope to include more types of nuisance noises and more types of land care tools and practices that harm human health and the environment. While our own capacity is limited, the good news is that other organizations are addressing many of these larger issues. Here are a few examples:

Our partner Noise Free America has announced the publication of “Home, Sweet Home: Tips for Finding a Quiet Place to Live,” a 17-page manual that provides a proactive approach to avoiding noise when finding a new place to live. Author Ruth Schiedermayer of Warsaw, Indiana, and her husband, Kevin, developed an extensive checklist of what to look for in locating quiet living quarters, whether renting or buying.

Our partner AGZA (American Green Zone Alliance) is featured in the article Changing Business as Usual through AGZA Green Zone® Certification, which highlights three “robotic” green zones in Illinois. See:
Quiet Communities webinars:  

Our partner Quiet Communities is hosting a "Quest for Quiet" series of webinars. On December 16, 2021, they presented "Leading by Example in Quiet, Clean Land Care" which is posted here. Rick Reibstein, Jamie Banks, and Matt Tate presented.

On March 15, 2022 They presented "Working Together to Reduce Noise and Pollution in America's Communities". Topics included "Noise as a Public Health Hazard," "Noise: An Environmental Justice Issue," "The Federal Noise Control Program," and "Finding Solutions.". National experts presented and led the discussion.

Highlights from the last year: 

1) 1st statewide ban - California 

2) New York state is now considering its own statewide ban, as are New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, and possibly others. Let's hope Oregon joins that list. See: More states considering bans on gas-powered lawn equipment.

3) 1st county-wide ban
To our knowledge, no county in the U.S. has enacted a full ban on gas leaf blowers yet. Multnomah County could be the first! The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 2021-094 in Dec. 2021 to begin work toward a county-wide phase-out of gas blowers.

National media is bringing attention to the issue - here are some examples:

NY Times ran two articles, one supporting the shift away from GLB's, and one offering a review of corded and cordless leaf blowers:

Consumer Reports - ran an article giving multiple reasons to choose battery-electric over gas-powered leaf blowers (and provides recommendations/reviews of equipment):

Wall Street Journal - "Lawnmowers, garbage trucks, and generators all make plenty of noise in the suburbs. But nothing compares to this amplified, gas-powered mosquito."

Our newsletter has reached 1,550 subscribers and continues to grow. Thanks for forwarding it to your friends and anyone else who may be interested.

Cheers and Happy Spring from the Quiet Clean PDX team!

Albert Kaufman, Brian Stewart, Judy Walton, Michael Hall, Stan Penkin, Susan Mates, Tamara Olcott

PPS - Last month we asked you to reach out to schools on this issue - if you didn't see this message you can still take the action!
Volunteer Opportunity!

The Eastmoreland Garden Club is producing a Celebration of Gardening event on May 14th from 10am to 2pm. QCPDX has been invited to staff a leaf blower information table. Hundreds of people will be in attendance. A flyer for the event is here.
If you are interested, we would appreciate your help with the QCPDX info table, setting up a table, chairs, and a pop-up shelter. And please consider signing up for an hour or two as greeters of table visitors. We have handouts.
Any way you can help with the campaign on May 14th is deeply appreciated. It takes a village, right? Reach out to volunteer coordinator Michael Hall if you are interested in helping to promote the elimination of gas leaf blowers at this springtime garden event.
Rowan Wolf: Kindergarten
1.7.22 At Alameda School - Close up
Are you interested in learning how to be a more effective neighborhood activist through the use of digital tools such as email newsletters, social media, and Nextdoor? If so, Albert Kaufman recorded a training on the topic recently.
We've got postcards - Let Nancy know how many you'd like and how to get them to you!