Healthy Air

Portland City Council votes to phase out gas powered leaf blowers

On Wednesday the Portland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to phase out gas powered leaf blowers within the next four years.

Clean air

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We’ve all experienced the jarring roar of gas-powered leaf blowers, but most Oregonians are shocked when they learn that they’re also massive sources of air pollution. In 2020, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment in Oregon emitted as much fine particulate air pollution as 4 million cars over the course of a year. That’s more than the amount of passenger vehicles currently registered in Oregon.

On Wednesday, the Portland City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance that will phase out one of the biggest polluters: gas-powered leaf blowers. The phase-out will begin in January 2026. For the first two years, the use of gas leaf blowers will be prohibited for nine months out of the year – between January and September, before becoming a year round ban in 2028. 

“When it comes to air pollution levels, gas-powered leaf blowers are small but mighty, spewing out climate pollution and dangerous air pollutants that trigger asthma and other breathing problems,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director with Environment Oregon. “Portlanders can all breathe a sigh of relief that the Portland City Council has taken action to phase out this big source of air pollution.”

There are cleaner and quieter alternatives currently available. Electric lawn equipment is increasingly easy to find at major hardware stores and suppliers, with dozens of options for electric mowers, trimmers and other types of equipment currently on the market.

“Great to see the Portland City Council addressing part of our air pollution problem by phasing out gas powered leaf blowers,” said Charlie Fisher, state director of OSPIRG. “We shouldn’t accept tons of air pollution and ear-splitting noise as an inevitable byproduct of taking care of our gardens and lawns. We have better options.”

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