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About The Dalles chronicle. (The Dalles, OR) 1998-2020 | View Entire Issue (March 21, 2020)
Hood River News . The Dalles Chronicle | 5
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
& sons drive
Affordable Portables into 7th year
The Dalles Chronicle
Schooter Collins, Karen Carlin, Tracer Collins, Wade Collins and Schooner Collins have a going
concern with Columbia Gorge Affordable Portable. Tom Peterson photo
Wade Collins of Columbia
Gorge Affordable Portable
shows off a solar light and
fan that he uses to keep
his porta potties lit at night
and fresher smelling during
the heat of the day.
Tom Peterson photo
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Wade Collins knows hard work.
On a visit to in-laws in The Dalles, he saw he could make a run at the portable toilet
business in our area.
A divorce gave him the opportunity to take that challenge.
In 2014, he arrived with a single pickup to pump sewage after leaving an excavation
business and the fun side of a shovel behind.
“I bought 27 toilets and got the 28th for free,” he said of his first days in the Mid-
Columbia. He was licensed on April Fool’s day and pumped his first toilet on May Day.
“The next month I bought 28 more with some ADA units and handwash stations. By the
end of my first year, I had 100 units.”
“I worked 20-hour days and pretty much just power-napped in my truck,” he said.
That lasted for three years.
With the work ethic came a commitment to a superior product and quality control.
Every toilet he rents is double walled. Pink toilets are available for women only, with
locks available. Bang-up cleaning products are used, and toilets are scoured with a 1200
PSI pressure washer and finished with elbow grease—inside and out. There’s no fudging.
First impressions with portable toilets are everything.
Collins said all you have to do is sit on the toilet lid and take a hard look—
consequently the same view customers have when using the porta potty. Dirt, cobwebs
and other less desirable elements come into view and can then be cleaned properly.
That attention to detail has earned him a good chunk of the orchard business, he
The other crucial point in growing the business was to be responsible to his original
customers, meaning not shortchanging your base to take on a one-time event such as
providing toilets to a forest fire camp.
Collins now has some 1000 toilets. He has added three additional pumping trucks
and plans on having a Kenworth with a 2,500-gallon tank online this summer for bigger
septic tank jobs. He plans on hiring several more employees.
Karen Carlin with expertise in accounting and marketing is holding down the front
office at 309 Court St.
And his three sons, Tracer, 16, Schooter, 18, and Schooner 20, are employed in the
business. Sons Racer and Chacer and daughter Pyper will also get in on the fun this
summer —might even get locked in a porta potty and drenched with a pressure washer
“It’s not a glamorous business,” said Schooner laughing. “You have to have fun
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