Posted By johntarantino1 on July 9, 2010
Article from: Oregonlive
Stacy Young keeps one eye on her three children as they splash in the shallow fountain in the Pearl District’s Jamison Square. She keeps the other eye on the clock.
“The kids are good for about two hours, and then we’ve got to find a bathroom,” she said about Austin, 6, Landon, 5, and Noelle, 3. “There’s no Porta-Potty around, and you just can’t find anyplace close for them.”
Despite opposition by some nearby condominium owners, that’s likely to change by the end of summer. The Portland Water Bureau plans to install a 24-hour, solar-powered public toilet, called a loo, on the edge of the urban park after it reaches an agreement with residents about where to put it.
The 8 1/2-by-10-foot, sleek metal structure will feature slanted louvers at the top and bottom to allow users privacy while enabling police and passers-by to partially view occupants’ feet and legs. And an external sink and aerie-like design are intended to discourage vandalism and keep the park from becoming a homeless hangout — the main concern for some area residents.
But Patricia Gardner, speaking for the Pearl District Neighborhood Association, said many residents have been calling for a public toilet in Jamison Square since it opened nearly 10 years ago.
“We’d hoped that one of the newer buildings nearby would have put one in, but it never happened,” Gardner said. “Now, we’re working hard to find a location in the park that is least offensive to those who live across the street.”
Sandy Ammerman remains skeptical.
The resident of Tanner Place Condominiums, which face Jamison Square, said she has collected more than 250 signatures from other Pearl District residents and business owners objecting to the siting process and opposing the project.
“We never received proper notification that a discussion was under way,” she said, “and we also think that placing a loo in this small park is inappropriate.”
Ammerman said she planned to present the neighborhood association with a map of businesses and organizations with public restrooms within walking distance of the square as an alternative to the loo.
“Most of the places, all you have to do is buy a cookie or drink and you can use the bathroom,” she said.
The city’s first loo opened last year at Northwest Fifth Avenue and Glisan Street. It has been heralded largely as a success.
Two others are planned to open in Tom McCall Waterfront Park this summer, one a short distance from the Saturday Market at Southwest Ash Street and Naito Parkway and the other close to Salmon Street Springs Fountain at Southwest Taylor Street.
Madden Fabrication in Northwest Portland recently received a contract to build two of the structures — one for Jamison Square — and hopes to construct more for cities such as San Diego that have expressed interest in the Portland models.
“If the requests grow, this would be great for the local economy,” said owner Greg Madden.
The city will pay about $60,000 for the loo, with about $1,200 a year set aside for the Business Improvement District’s Clean and Safe services to clean the facility twice daily.
Meanwhile, Anna DiBenedetto, spokeswoman for Commissioner Randy Leonard, who is an advocate for public restrooms, said the need for the facility in the crowded park outweighed opponents’ objections.
After the Water Bureau and the neighborhood association agree on a location, the site plumbed and the parts assembled — about 60 days, by city estimates — the toilet could be made available to the public, Water Bureau staff say.
“For now, we are committed to putting in a loo that will be open around the clock,” DiBenedetto said. “It’s no longer a matter of why but where.”
After Thursday’s Pearl District Neighborhood Association Board Meeting on July 8th, 2010, the Board voted in favor of accepting the Loo at the third parking space from the Crosswalk on 11th St. starting from the Fenouil side. This specific location was chosen because it is the easiest location (engineering wise) due to the location of the sewer and water lines which are located on 11th st.