New Portland law bans noisy leaf blowers



Posted on September 1, 2009 at 8:55 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 29 at 10:58 AM

PORTLAND -- City Noise Enforcement officers could have one ear cocked toward your leaf blower this fall.

Portland is poised to issue its first-ever list of approved leaf blowers, something that's been in the works for years, according to Noise Officer Paul vanOrden.

New rules will impose a 65-decibel noise limit on leaf blowers year-round, excepting the foliage-filled months of November through February, when the decibel level can legally reach 70.

"I do feel after working on this for a decade it's a very fair standard, using such a comprehensive approach, instead of just using an all-out ban, which some have incorporated," said vanOrden.

But industry leaders are skeptical.

Pacific Landscape Management has 300 accounts in the greater Portland area.

Founder Bob Grover said noise from blowers is a constant issue, though he added it "used to be worse."

"I think if you would look back maybe 10 years ago, blowers were maybe 90 decibels and they've really reduced them," he said. "But 65 is really low and not many blowers comply with that regulation."

During the ordinance's first year, the city said it will encourage compliance with "education" about quieter leaf blowers instead of fines.

Fines kick in next fall. Noisy yard work may cost $300 for a first offense, $1,000 a second time, and as much as $3,000 for a third violation.

A complete list of approved leaf blowers was available on the