First Advisor

Jerry Lansdowne

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Refuse and refuse disposal, Refuse and refuse disposal -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area



Physical Description

180 leaves 28 cm.


This study explores refuse collection as a municipal service using qualitative methods to examine how government makes decisions about residential refuse collection services in Portland, Gresham, and Beaverton, Oregon. The study explores the history of refuse collection in these three cities to identify factors that influence bureaucratic behavior and decision making when selecting a municipal service delivery option for refuse collection. Public choice and public policy analysis theory are used to discuss those non-monetary considerations present when government makes decisions about service arrangements. Qualitative data was collected from public officials and private haulers involved in refuse collection in the three cities. This qualitative process was to capture, in context, the development of the industry. The use of a single criterion in determining choice of private organizational forms may not create the results desired by municipal governments. Choice in the selection of a service arrangement has two important aspects: (1) the array of service arrangement options that can be developed and (2) the contextual environment within which bureaucrats operate and which influences the decision making process. It was found that decisions about which type of service arrangement to use for refuse collection did not always stem from monetary factors such as cost. Non-monetary factors such as tradition, legal considerations, and lobbying can influence decisions about which type of service arrangement to use.


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