Portland Passes Ban To Phase Out Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers By 2028

Portland, known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, has taken a significant step towards reducing noise and air pollution by passing an ordinance that bans the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. The ban, which will be implemented in stages, is aimed at mitigating the negative health impacts that disproportionately affect maintenance and landscaping workers.

Under the new ordinance, the use of gas-powered leaf blowers will be prohibited during the first eight months of each year, starting in 2026. This seasonal ban will allow for a transition period as the city encourages the adoption of more environmentally friendly alternatives. However, starting in 2028, the ban will be in effect year-round, prohibiting the use of gas-powered leaf blowers entirely.

Violators of the ban will initially receive a warning, but subsequent violations will result in fines. The fines will start at $250 and increase to $500, with a maximum penalty of $1,000 for repeated offenses. These measures are intended to ensure compliance and encourage the adoption of electric or battery-powered alternatives. While Portland already has regulations in place for noise levels of leaf blowers, this new ordinance specifically targets the power source. By prohibiting gas-powered leaf blowers, the city aims to address the detrimental noise and air pollution caused by these machines.

The decision to phase in the ban on a seasonal basis for the first two years was made in consideration of the current limitations of electric leaf blowers. According to a staff summary, electric leaf blowers are not yet powerful enough to effectively handle the wet leaves that accumulate on Portland’s streets and yards during the fall and early winter. This phased approach allows for the development and adoption of more powerful electric alternatives.

The city of Portland actively sought public input on the draft ordinance, releasing it for review in January. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with 86% of the comments in favor of the ban. Many individuals expressed their support for the ban and called for a shorter phase-in period.