Bend Bulletin / Journalism

Crook County garbage company changes hands

Owners pass on Prineville family business to daughter, son-in-law

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: November 24. 2006 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – Gary Goodman has seen a lot of change in Prineville in the last 30 years – much of it from the driver’s seat of a garbage truck.

Goodman and his wife, Sally, have owned Prineville Disposal, Crook County’s only garbage pickup service, since 1977. Now, they are getting ready to hand the reins to another couple: their daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Steve Holliday.

The Prineville City Council and Crook County Court have both already approved the transfer of Prineville Disposal’s franchise from the Goodmans to the Hollidays.

Prineville Mayor Mike Wendel said that Gary and Sally Goodman are well known in the town as active supporters of the community.

“They’re willing to give back to the community (and) willing to help out,” Wendel said. “They have a lot of family values, they realize those are the things that are a part of Prineville and they’re happy to be a part of Prineville.”

Gary Goodman, 58, said he “cannot think of a time in 30 years when I have not been on one board or another.” Through the years, he said he has been involved in such organizations as the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce, Powell Butte Farmers Club and the Oregon State University Foundation board. The family has also helped sponsor the annual Fourth of July fireworks show in the community.

“That’s just something that I feel is important when you do business in a community, is to be a part of it,” he said.

Sally Goodman, 59, has also been very involved with the Crook County Parks and Recreation District, as well as other organizations, over the years.

The Goodmans moved to Prineville from Portland in 1977. Gary Goodman’s father owned a trash disposal business, and the chance to purchase a garbage company brought the couple and their then 1-year-old son, Geoff, to the area.

At first, they ran the business out of their home, picking up for 700 customers and parking their garbage trucks on the street at night. One of their employees was the former sheriff, who drove a truck in the morning and worked as sheriff in the afternoon.

In 1993, they purchased a former potato storage facility to house the business. They now have 20 employees and 5,000 customers. In 2005, the Goodmans bought out a competitor, Crook County Disposal, which had been serving about 1,000 residents living in the county.

Gary and Sally Goodman said they have witnessed Prineville grow from a “rough-and-tumble” place to a city with more diversity and economic stability. One of the biggest challenges they faced was the economic recession in the early 1980s.

“We had pooled all our resources to move here and I questioned my wisdom of moving here when the economy took a dive,” Gary Goodman said.

But Sally Goodman said she had never regretted the decision. Now, they are preparing to hand over the business to the next generation.

“Our energy is not as great as it used to be,” Gary Goodman said. “The town is rapidly growing and it just takes fresh legs to carry the torch.”

Emily Holliday, 28, said she never thought she would take over her parents’ company.

“It was just a really good opportunity to open our own business,” she said of herself and her husband, Steve, 34. “It just happened at the right time for both of us.”

Emily Holliday noted that she and her husband were at a similar place in their lives three years ago, when they moved back to Central Oregon and started working for Prineville Disposal, as her parents were when they bought the company 29 years ago. They had a young son, Wyatt, now 4, and after they moved to Prineville they had a daughter, Emma, now 15 months.

“It’s very odd how history repeats itself,” Emily Holliday said. “To some people it feels like maybe we just jumped in and wanted to take over, but we’ve been here.”

The Goodmans will continue to operate the liquid waste portion of Prineville Disposal – which they will call SepticPROs – while the Hollidays will run the rest of the business. Emily Holliday said that all of the services will stay the same, but she and Steve are hoping to expand recycling options in the future.

Crook County Court Judge Scott Cooper called Sally and Gary Goodman “the original entrepreneurs.”

“We always looked to Sally and Gary for leadership in the business community and we appreciate what they’ve done and their commitment to Prineville,” he said.

Gary Goodman said he feels “lucky to have found a job I love.”

“I just have always enjoyed physical labor and I liked getting my work done early in the morning before it got hot and I liked the interaction with the customers,” he said. “To think I was going to get paid for this I thought was really good … just being able to work outdoors in such a beautiful part of the state.”

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