Residents Frustrated with Leaf Pick-up

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EUGENE, Ore. — A viewer e-mailed us, frustrated about the leaf pickup situation in Eugene.

Stephen said, “How did we get into this situation where the city assumed responsibility for all of these leaves? Clogged storm drains, blocked bike lanes, slippery when wet. Just plain stupid!”

The city actually says it wishes people used the city pickup option as a last resort and turned more toward re-using their leaves or recycling them.

It’s required to clear the right of way, but with an average of 18,000 cubic yards to pick up a year, it says big piles are bound to stack up.

“I think as long as we can keep it out of the gutters and the water flowing but we need it picked up more frequent and they have yet to pick it up since the leaves started falling in our area so it’s like at what point are they eventually going to get to us,” said Eugene resident Matt Matheney.

Public works says it held over a number of its staff members to focus on the cleanup Tuesday. It says it has five different zones and a schedule on its website and it asks residents to only rake the leaves into the street the weekend before to the scheduled pickup.

Residents tell us the problem is they don’t want to wait. They think those leaves are a hazard.

“We try to reuse the leaves we have and if we put them in bags separating them out of bags and then trying to distribute them would not be a cost effective way of doing it,” said Eric Johnson, Eugene Public Works Manager.

The city says when you have this much rain in such a short amount of time, you are going to have flooding.

The city also wants to remind people to keep cars at least 15 feet from the piles because crews and equipment need plenty of room to collect the leaves.


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  1. JMQ says:

    There are so many unhappy things going on in the world, and these spoiled twits are whining about LEAVES??? Oh, boo hoo.
    I have an idea – maybe they could stop complaining, hire lawyers and sue the TREES for having the gall to drop their leaves in the first place…
    What say you, you idiotic buffoons???

  2. jason marks says:

    Okay Stephen…… drama queen…

    we’ll hire more city workers to “sort” leaves by the “Make and Model” of the tree and make sure that homeowners aren’t putting their leaves in with the city tree’s.

    I think we all know that our tax dollars are spent on it.

    If you don’t like it or think you have a better idea, go tell it to the city council,
    i know they are waiting for your appearance at city hall this minute.

  3. Eugene Rez says:

    Jason, I think you misread that article. Stephen wasn’t the one talking about sorting the leaves. That was “Eugene resident Matt Matheney.”

    I believe the point Stephen was trying to make is when did we start relying strictly on the city for leaf removal? Why can’t we be responsible for some of this debris? If it is such a safety concern for residents and they’re complaining about it taking too long for the city to come by why aren’t they doing something of their own accord?

    Solutions could be donating them to local farms or people who have compost piles or holiday decorations with those big decorated garbage bags or even art projects for kids.

    If we recognize there’s a problem with the expediency of pick-up and can see that the street is flooding because they’re not being picked up then isn’t it common sense to find another solution instead of continuing to complain?

    In addition, if the city requires cars to park 15 feet from leaf piles to be able to pick them up and every single person on a residential street puts their piles out then where is there supposed to be parking? You know that people will park right over the leaves for convenience and then they might not get picked up and then the problem just gets worse.

    In any situation we can only control how we react. If we choose to react with passive aggressive complaints about the condition but no action towards the solution can we really say we have a right to complain at all?

    1. jason marks says:

      I actually cleaned a catch drain …. 16th and Ferry NW corner…

      what did you do?

      there will always be leaves, complaining does not fix that.

      I think, in light of your comment, the best solution is to cut down ALL trees.

      Then there would be no silly leaves to fuss about in dumb articles on kezi.

      Please drop off a bag of partially composted, soaking wet, oil stained leaves at your local kindergarten class and see how well that goes over with an art project.

  4. J Fisher says:

    I am curious about an issue with leaf pick up as stated in last nights report.

    1. WHY the @*$) did city workers go “rake” leaves away from strom drains only to return an hour later to do it again? WHY DIDN”T THEY JUST PICK THEM UP!!!!! Duh.

    And another thing…..

    2. Last fall, a couple days befor the final leaf pick up in my neighborhood a CITY STREET SWEEPER came by my house to “clean” the streets only to do around the pile of leaves. Here’s a thought. Why not wait a few more days and go AFTER the leaves have been picked up and actually clean the street.

    Here are just 2 examples of a complete waste of our tax dollars. Come on people…really?

  5. Long Time says:

    Until very recently, for 50,000+ years of human history, leaves were not considered a problem until 70 or 80 years ago, and really until much more recently did it become an occasional stink. The reason is that traditional peoples didn’t build road and storm drains over wetlands, prairies, and forests, or spend vast sums on vehicles. In horticultural and agricultural societies for 10,000 years until about 50 or 60 years ago, leaves, manure, forms of organic matter were seen as valuable fertilizer to spead over fields to increase their fertility.

    Only buying into shoddy thinking and bad propaganda have people been confused into organizing their lives in ways that put themselves in conflict with leaves and trees. Feel lucky to get every leaf you can and use them as mulch around your trees and shrubs. Remember how lucky you are to be outside in the wind and air and rain raking your leaves out of the street and back onto your land, how lucky you are to have land, or a place to live, or a place to sleep.

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