The Portland City Council is set to approve funding for a new loo at Ventura Park in the Hazelwood neighborhood—the ninth in the city and the first in East Portland.
The Portland Loo—the brainchild of former city Commissioner Randy Leonard—got off to a rocky start, with water ratepayers protesting the cost of cleaning and maintaining the public toilets.
"In 2011, ratepayers that included former City Commissioner Lloyd Anderson sued the city, claiming that revenue from water and sewer bills was paying for projects unrelated to providing water and sewer service," a 2013 cover story in WW reported. "One of their targets is the $617,588 of Water Bureau money that's been spent on maintaining and marketing the loo."
In 2014, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Stephen Bushong sided with ratepayers, ruling that the city shouldn't have spent utility money on the loo.
Since then, more cities have purchased loos, helping to fulfill one of Leonard's goals to make money off the public toilet. Earlier this month, The Boston Globe reported that Cambridge, Mass., installed a loo in Harvard Square.
"I'm pleased that it's recognized as an affordable solution," Leonard tells WW this week. "It's nice that it's looked at as a viable option not just in Portland."
Portland currently has eight loos but only one of them is outside of downtown, in Khunamokwst Park in the Cully neighborhood. The park opened in April.
Portland Parks and Recreation, not the Water Bureau, will pay for the loo in East Portland.