Government, News, Washington County

Low-income households in unincorporated Washington County may get 75% off garbage bill

Low-income residents of unincorporated Washington County may qualify for a 75% reduction in their garbage and recycling bill, Washington County announced.

To qualify, residents must live outside of city limits, live at 185% of the federal poverty level—that’s $51,338 per year for a household of four, the county said—and pay their garbage and recycling service directly.

The reduced rate would bring the cost of a standard 32-gallon per week garbage and recycling service to just $7 per month, Washington County said.

More qualifying details, further information, and an application can be found online.

For many of our readers who live in unincorporated Washington County, their provider is Swatco, itself headquartered in rural Washington County outside Banks. That company is among several providers participating in the program.

The county said the program would not cost taxpayers additional funds, based on 2022 rate review findings.

“Instead of implementing a universal rate decrease, the County opted to implement a reduced rate program for low-income households,” said Thomas Egleston, Solid Waste & Recycling manager. “This allows the rates for most customers to remain constant and the system to fund the reduced rate program, giving low-income community members a significant discount on essential services instead of marginally lowering rates across the entire customer base.”

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted to launch the program in June of 2022.

To simplify the eligibility requirements of the program, the county set the requirements to match similar assistance programs such as nutritional support from WIC, SNAP, or their school’s free and reduced lunch program.

In addition to online forms, the county can provide assistance in-person to applicants, or by mail. Those with eligibility questions were asked to contact Community Action by calling 503-648-6646 or by email at [email protected]

For more information about garbage and recycling in Washington County, visit

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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