Eugene deploys online tracking in spread offense on leaf piles

EUGENE, Ore. - A live online map now allows Eugene residents to track the progress of crews collecting fall leaf piles from city streets as they spread out to simultaneously cover three separate zones across the city.

"It used to be we'd go one zone at a time all along the city and it'd take a long time for us to get certain parts of the city," said Eric Jones with City of Eugene Public Works. "With this new system, we think we're going be able to be more responsive, provide better service to the neighborhoods."

Eugene allows residents to pile leaves in the street the weekend prior to collection.

"You don't want to put them out too early because they can clog up the storm drains and cause flooding," Jones said, "or they blow around get all over after you've done a nice job at piling them all up."

Leaf collection started Tuesday in Central Eugene and continues next week in other parts of Eugene. Progress will be charted online in real time.

Timing and rules are different in Springfield and unincorporated parts of Eugene and Springfield.

The annual fall leaf collection started Tuesday in Eugene. | LEAF COLLECTION SCHEDULE

"One of the things we've done differently is we have three zones now that we collect all at the same time, so this week we're focusing all three of our crews in this central area, this downtown area," Jones said. "Starting next week they're going to separate and go into three different zones.

"The crew will be able to focus on known areas of problems or in the South Hills for example where we know we get ice and snow early in the season, we'll try to get up there earlier before that happens."

Over in Springfield, homeowners can't just heap the leaf piles in the street.

"We ask folks to put their leaves in medium sized bags the Monday before their pickup starts," said Loralyn Spiro with the City of Springfield. "It helps keep the water flowing to the storm drains. It's safer for motorists and biciclysts and pedestrians because there's not piles of leaves that could block the bike lane or make motorists swerve to miss piles of leaves."