Ask anyone you know about public restrooms, and you’ll probably hear the same thing: notoriously filthy, smelly and unpleasant, public restrooms are not the kind of place anyone is excited to go to.
Except maybe in Portland.
This Oregon city has five solar-powered, highly durable downtown toilets–all of which are defying preconceptions, working well and remaining resistant to vandalism. Standing 10 feet high, the so-called “Portland Loos” currently average about 200 flushes a day and have over 250 followers on Facebook. Features include a graffiti-resistant metallic-gray finish, prison-grade toilets, a tiny hand-washing faucet outside and workers who clean the bathrooms twice a day.
“We can ship them to somebody for $99,000 and all they have to do is bolt them on to their sidewalk and hook them up to sewer and water,” said City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who originated the idea for the loo after Portland had its own publicized failure with public bathrooms.
What’s more, the bathrooms have been designed to be protected against vandalism and damage. ”The whole idea behind it was to design it not as this beautiful, aesthetic piece of work and then be aghast if somebody did something bad to it,” Leonard said. “We designed it anticipating all of that.”
The Portland Loo has a pricetag of about $60K, with yearly maintenance averaging around $12K.
There’s already been one sold to Victoria, British Columbia, and the cities of San Diego and Anchorage have expressed interest, as well.