Leaf Management and Pizza

Dear Liza,

With all the wonderful pictures of changing leaves I have been sending you, you might wonder, “What happens after all those leaves fall down?” Yesterday, we found out!

It turns out that Portland, (“The City That Works” according to the city trucks) has plans for this. Twice during the fall, each part of the city has leaf days. On leaf days, several trucks come, in order, to get rid of most of the leaves.

The first truck is a small bobcat/forklift sort of vehicle, pushing what looks like a small soccer goal with brushes along the bottom. The soccer goal thing corrals leaves that have been gathered on the side of the street into piles. After several trips up and down the block, all the leaves are a pile about 4 feet high in the middle of the intersection.

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Leaf Scooper

Next comes the scooper. This is another forklift sort of thing with red “hands” that pick up this whole pile in about 3 scoops and puts them into a waiting truck. There is also a vacuum that comes and gets leaves missed by the pusher and scooper, and dumps them into the truck.

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Leaf washer

After the leaves have been pushed, scooped and vacuumed, a truck with huge water tanks comes by and squirts the street to wash the leftover leaves and slime away. Finally, a regular street cleaner truck, with rotating brushes, comes by and makes the street all clean. When the crew it done, there are about 12 leaves left on a street that had been 2 feet deep in them.

This whole process takes about half an hour….per intersection. I can’t even imagine how many crews just like this must be all over the city.

After a day of leaf watching and writing, we all went over to visit Auntie Katie and the cousins. We stopped by Skottie’s Pizza, on Division, and picked up a “Proctor Special” of pepperoni, pineapple and ‘p’olives (the kids like alliteration) and a seasonal special of squash, caramelized onions and mozzarella. Not cheap, but very good, and plenty for leftovers!

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Auntie Katie making dishes out of pizza box lids!

Grandpa Nelson played Legos with Jasper and Auntie Katie and I made wrapped baked apples with cousin Kestrel. They were delicious!

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Wrapped apples

Auntie Katie also showed us how she has improved a cape she got from a now-deceased friend from synagogue, Libby Braverman, about 25 years ago: She made the already warm and beautiful cape Portland-safe by sewing a thin line of lights to the front! It makes you show up while out in these early-dark months.

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Glowing Auntie Katie and Kestrel