City Commissioner Randy Leonard's effort to defend Portland from unhygienic tinklers continued today as city and downtown neighborhood officials scouted for new locations to build two public toilets, or "loos." There's about $152,000 in the general fund devoted to the new toilets.
"We're just basically trying to do a little outreach, keep the neighborhood as a stakeholder and see what the sense is of where a public toilet will be sited," said Anna DiBenedetto, an assistant to Leonard.
Right now, the city has four loos. The first was built two-and-a-half years ago at NW 5th and Glisan at the suggestion of Leonard, who hoped it would deter public urination.
As the city planned to build another toilet in the Pearl District last year, some residents worried it would attract drug-use and prostitution. But Leonard has called toilet access "a basic human right" and has said he wants more in high-traffic areas.
The timing of this most recent loo scouting might strike some as odd, as it follows the Water Bureau's controversial decision to flush nearly 8 million gallons of water after a 21-year-old man peed in one of Portland's open reservoirs. In the wake of that ordeal, which some labeled "Tinklegate," Leonard faced criticism for telling someone angry about the decision that urine could potentially spread AIDS.
Facing criticism, Leonard later apologized.