A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The annual battle of the fallen leaves

Written November 18th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

A long pile of leaves covers this footpath in Waverly Park on Sunday.

Autumn leaves are piling up everywhere in Albany this mild and dry — so far — November. But the end is in sight as more and more of our trees are beginning to look pretty bare.

As usual, Republic Services scheduled three 12-day periods to pick up leaves on city streets. The first ended Nov. 16, and the second starts Monday (Nov. 19) and goes through the 30th. Then there’s a final pickup period Dec. 10-21. (The dates are shown on the city government’s website, which is where I got them.)

To take advantage of this service, residents are supposed to deposit leaves in long narrow piles two feet from the curb. But they’re not to block bikes lanes, storm drains or driveways. Bike lanes get blocked anyway, and if you’re going to put leaves in the street away from the curb, the bike lane is the only place where you can put them.

Though it’s convenient to have this public leaf disposal service, it’s not clear when or why it became the city’s responsibility to dispose of leaves from people’s yards. How about residents just dumping them in carts Republic provides for yard debris? If the carts don’t hold them all, fill the carts every other week until the pile is gone.

Just be glad you don’t have to deal with the immense amount foliage that falls from the thousands of trees in the city’s parks. (hh)




6 responses to “The annual battle of the fallen leaves”

  1. Pat Riot says:

    Fallen leaves are ideal for composting and with very little effort will produce nutrient rich compost which can then be spread in your yard or garden for free. Heck, that’s what healthy forests do naturally when we don’t interfere. Such meddling lazy fools we’ve become in the natural world.

  2. CHEZZ says:

    It has been so wonderful to enjoy the fall color for an extended time this year. Our needed rain will clear the air as we move into our season of Thanksgiving!

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    We use the yard debris cart as well as the street. The yard cart is picked up during the day, usually the morning, and we can fill it by that evening and have to wait two weeks for it to be picked up. If it wasn’t for the street use our lawn would be covered with leaves killing the grass or raked up and piled somewhere until it could be put in the cart, etc, etc. I’m thankful that what I can not put in the cart can go in the street.
    As far as composting – it isn’t as easy as it sounds to make good compost. Too often I have seen good intentions end up as a pile of moldy smell leaves. It’s a lot of work and dedication to stir it at least once a week.

  4. Dave says:

    I top off my house hold garbage with leaves,, They compose nicely also

  5. Rolland says:

    It’s a very nice and appreciated service Republic provides! With 4 150 year old Oregon White Oaks in our front yard which are not a good leaf for composting it’s good they get picked up.

  6. Jo Rae Perkins says:

    The leaves on the trees around our yard, fall long before most other trees The leaves started falling September 15th, and were done by October 15th. We have 7 trees on our corner, my husband bagged up around 50, yes FIFTY large black bags. Can you imagine what it would have looked like had he just piled them up in the street? Would have encroached into the street where people drive and there would not be anywhere for our or our neighbor’s visitors to park on the street. Every other week George puts bags of leaves into the yard cart. We are now down to about 10 bags of leaves. We don’t leave the leaves on our yard. Personally, I would like to see Republic start to offer weekly yard debris pickup in the fall. I feel it is not very neighborly for residents to pile the leaves up in the street. The wind blows the leaves all over the place, causing additional work for everyone; when it rains, the gutters and storm drains are clogged, causing excess water into the streets. What did everyone do before the annual leaf pickup?? We don’t all keep the leaves for compost – and I know we could never use the amount of leaves that fall annually from our 7 ash trees. So be a good neighbor and use bags and your yard debris carts.


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