Kill The (Gas-Powered) Leaf-Blower, Oregon

Unbeknownst to me until the other week thanks to Nigel Jaquiss in Willamette Week, Oregon has a bill under consideration to phase out gas-powered devices of the sort that routinely drive me into fits of sensory processing despair.

WHAT IT WOULD DO: Prohibit new, nonroad engines that produce “emissions or evaporative exhaust” after Jan. 1, 2026. In other words, say goodbye to gas-powered leaf blowers, lawnmowers, chain saws, generators and other devices. The plan: Replace them all with electric-powered engines.

In a more prefect and Bix-centered world, leaf blowers would not exist at all, although I’m sympathetic to the reality that they effectively make easier the jobs of those hired to clear leaf clutter from sidewalks.

I’ve passed at least one electric leaf blower on the street, though, and with my Loop Quiet earplugs in they seem a distant background sound rather than the insistent distress of the gas-powered ones that break right through my protection.

A few years ago I heard the neighbor behind me start to mow the lawn and got preemptively stressed out, except that almost immediately I wondered why, in fact, it was so much quieter than expected. Answer: it was an electric lawn mower.

Thanks to Resistbot now also enabling you to contact state legislators, I urged mine to support Senate Bill 525, and if you’re also an urban, autistic Oregonian you can sign onto my letter and do the same.

Since originally drafting this post, but before posting it, I’ve received a response from the office of Senator Elizabeth Steiner.

Thank you for reaching out with your thoughts about SB 525. The first bill deadline of the session was Friday, March 17th. This means that bills not scheduled for a work session by that date are not moving forward this session, with the exception of bills in Rules, Revenue, or Joint Committees​.

Since this bill does not have a work session scheduled and is not in a committee with a different deadline, it does not have a path forward this session. That said, I will be sure to pass along your perspective to Senator Steiner in case similar legislation is proposed in the future.

I’m not sure why this information wasn’t included in the Willamette Week piece, but I forwarded the email to Jaquiss.