Toilets in Buildings

February 18, 2009
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Restrooms inside public buildings

In principle, restrooms in public buildings are public restrooms.    Those at Portland State University are often open to all during the hours the university operates.   The university toilets serve the South Park Blocks, which had no toilets before the 2012 installation of a Portland Loo.  The presence of  toilets maintained by the University means that the weekends-only  Portland Farmers’ Market does not need portable sanitation units.

Restrooms in parking garages

SW Clay St Auditorium Park

Two Portland parking garages have public restrooms in them.  On SW Clay street between 4th and 5th Avenues in a parking structure  is a bright orange titled restroom.    The entrance to the restroom is opposite the full block park that is home to the Ira Keller Fountain.  It is built into the Auditorium Parking Garage.

The contoured floors and the walls covered with bright orange tile are attractive and easy to pressure clean.  On the women’s side of the compact facility are regular and accessible stalls with lockable partial doors, a washing area with a sink and hand dryer.  The men’s side features a urinal and a toilet stall, both without doors, and a sink area.  There is also a hydrant-type faucet for pressure washing and a closet for supplies.  While easy, this facility’s primary drawback is its poor safety. Entrances to the women’s and men’s rooms are too close to one another and hidden out of view down a narrow, curving, ramped corridor leading from the street.  There is no natural light.

In 2007 the city negotiated a lease with the Melvn Mark Companies for $1 a year and invested $20,000 to upgrade plumbing.    Maintained by Downtown Clean and Safe, the facility is open from 8 am to 11 pm.

NW Davis St Smart Park

The heavily-used public toilet in the city-owned Smart Park at NW Naito and Davis is built into the parking garage where access can be observed by the parking attendant.  It currently has longer hours than any other public toilet in the downtown area.  It is open Mon-Wed from 7 am to 12 midnight and on Thurs-Sat from 7 am to 3 am.  Sunday hours are 9 am to 10 pm but the toilet is closed Sundays from Christmas to March. It is maintained by the city’s Bureau of General Services and their contractor CleanScapes, a Seattle-based company that provides streetscape maintenance services to property owners, municipalities, and business improvement districts.

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    Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human, or PHLUSH, is an all-volunteer advocacy group based in Portland's Old Town Chinatown. We collaborate with grassroots organizations, environmental activists, planners, architects, code officials and city managers. We receive support from the Old Town Chinatown Community Association and Neighbors West-Northwest. PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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