Two Men, One Truck and a Vision
When brothers-in-law Anthony Boitano and Charles Bottjer began City Sanitary Service in 1938, little did they know that they were creating a legacy that would be thriving more than 80 years later. The company was Tony’s third venture in the garbage industry, which began with 100 customers and a horse-drawn wagon in the Mount Tabor area of Portland, Oregon in 1921. He later relocated to Klamath Falls in southern Oregon, where he became one of four partners in that community’s trash franchise. Charlie, who was new to the garbage industry, had a background in logging and heavy equipment operation.
Today, the Rogue Waste group of companies — including Rogue Disposal & Recycling — is still family owned, led by Tony’s grandson, Stephen Gambee. Just as it was when it was founded during the Great Depression, Rogue Disposal & Recycling continues to be a pioneer and innovator in the solid waste field.
Tony Boitano, for example, was one of the founders of the Oregon Refuse and Recycling Association in 1965 — back when green was just a color, not a movement. In the early 1980s, Rogue was the first company in Oregon to use automated front-load routes for commercial service. In 1997, the company brought automated garbage routes to the Rogue Valley. And by 2000, they introduced the first automated commingled service in the state of Oregon.
But the innovation — and accolades — didn’t stop there. In 2004, Rogue was awarded “Recycler of the Year” by the Association of Oregon Recycling. In 2007, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments presented Rogue Disposal with their Outstanding Private Sector Partner award for being a trailblazer for cleaner air on a national scale. They were the first private-public partnership to receive CMAQ grant funds to install diesel particulate removers on diesel trucks to reduce emissions by 50% and help improve overall air quality. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) awarded Rogue Disposal & Recycling with its Certificate of Appreciation for Air Quality Excellence for its continued leadership in this area. In 2014, the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County recognized Rogue Disposal as its Outstanding Corporate Citizen. And in 2016, the Chamber honored Stephen Gambee, CEO of Rogue Disposal & Recycling, with its First Citizen Award for lifetime community service.
In 2011, the company announced a bold new vision for energy independence and a commitment to next-level air quality improvements for the Rogue Valley. They are now in the planning stages to develop a facility to refine landfill biogas produced at Dry Creek Landfill into a transportation fuel known as Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) that can be used to fuel Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered vehicles.
To support our shift to clean-burning CNG vehicles, as well as to encourage the development and conversion of other fleets in the valley, the company — through its affiliate, Rogue Clean Fuels — recently completed construction of a public CNG fueling station on Antelope Road in White City. This CNG station brings Rogue one step closer toward our vision for a comprehensive “closed loop” solid waste system. Imagine a future where the trucks that pick up your trash and recyclables are powered by renewable landfill biogas produced from the garbage generated by residents of the Rogue Valley.
Now, at the threshold of our 80th anniversary, the same independent can-do spirit that founded the company in 1938 still burns brightly today. New products. New programs. And an abiding respect for customers and communities. That’s the vision of Rogue Disposal & Recycling, fully realized.
You can follow along in our more recent history by checking out the Rogue News blog.