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As It Was: Ashland Provides Annual Garbage Collection in 1914

Present-day residents of Ashland, Ore., are accustomed to weekly garbage collection.  There was a time when it was an annual event.

On March 26, 1914, The Ashland Tidings newspaper ran a headline at the top of page 1 that read, “Mayor Orders Cleaning Day for Monday.”

An article signed by Mayor O.H. Johnson said, “The city has been following this rule of free hauling in order that each citizen would respond readily to the matter of cleaning up.”  He lamented that “the previous year some people waited until the last minute and missed the opportunity.”

The mayor said residents should reduce bulk by burning all rubbish, including tin cans.

The mayor said, “The less bulk, the less weight, the less loads; thereby the less cost,” and noted that the once-a-year cleanup cost the city about $75, (the present-day equivalent of about $1,850).

Residents were to put the burned trash in boxes and barrels placed in the streets for collection wagons.

Strict attention to instructions would result in continued annual free hauling of refuse, the mayor said, adding that “at most other places the citizens clean up on their own.”


Source: Johnson, O H. "Mayor Orders Cleaning Day for Monday." Ashland Tidings, 26 Mar. 1914, p. 1. Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.