Health & Human Services

Portland Loo Solves the Problem of Public Toilets

The city built a solar-powered, not-so-private restroom that deters illegal activity.
by | August 30, 2012

Public bathrooms are often a source of frustration for city officials because they're difficult to keep clean, are targets for graffiti, and can play host to illegal activities. To address these concerns, Portland, Ore., designed a restroom facility that looks the size of just two stalls, is made of prison-grade steel that's nearly impossible to tag with graffiti, and has walls with narrow openings to deter activities one might not want seen from occuring, reports the Los Angeles Times. The so-called Portland Loo only has one faucet, and it's located on the outside of the unit to discourage loitering. On top of all that, it's powered by solar energy. The Loo costs $60,000 to install and just over $1,000 to maintain each month. After the first unit was installed in 2008, five more units have been added throughout the city -- most of which are along sidewalks and easily spotted by the public eye. To finance further units, Portland is exploring selling them to other cities that have expressed interest like San Diego, Houston, Baltimore and Seattle.

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