Portland Loo open house tomorrow at Ballard Commons Park

Tomorrow, Seattle Parks and Recreation will be hosting an open house to discuss the half-a-million-dollar loo going in at Ballard Commons Park.

The Portland Loo will cost the city $550,000, but it’s meant to dissuade drug use and be vandalism-resistant. The new loo will be put in place before next summer — King County Public Health officials said because there’s a water feature in the Ballard Commons, it’s mandatory to install a permanent toilet in the park.

The open house will be on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 11am to 3pm. The restroom is scheduled to be installed during the summer of 2019.

71 thoughts to “Portland Loo open house tomorrow at Ballard Commons Park”

    1. After the first few horrible crimes in/around, it will be removed at even greater taxpayer expense, liberal teeth gnashing, and Trump blaming. We all know the script by now. KC Public “Health”, whom literally does not “give a sh*t” about the hepatitis tents everywhere, now deems it mandatory to install this mess. This entire city is staffed by DMV employees!

    2. It will be misused by the homeless and druggies that use the park ! people will sleep in it and fight over who gets to camp in it ! and it will have to be checked for sharps a few times a day also sorry to say ! Never let your child use this without looking inside first !

    1. Oh, yeah. And they were a resounding success!
      Just ask your City Council.

      Does anyone know if Mikey is going to attend and take the ceremonial First P*ss? (which would be in loo of the traditional ribbon-cutting)

    2. I want to know how it can cost $550k. Is it nuclear powered?
      Assuming most of that is mgt, labor, installation etc that explains a lot about Seattle’s continual “funding problems”.

      1. This is only a hole in the ground with a water trap and a pipe that goes to a bigger pipe (just like your toilet at home), and the some sort of structure around it that is easy to clean. How does that cost 1/2 million? Another costly feature of the hobo hotel at the Commons.

        1. According to the materials distributed there, the “planning, design, permitting and construction” is $550k. That includes the $125k for the toilet (which is fully designed). So, looks like $425k is going to salaries involved in figuring out how to hook it to water and the construction to do so.

          Bidding is apparently starting in Jan, should be complete in August.

          Come on Seattle – we can do better.

          Would readers here take the time to sign a petition to divert the energy and money towards improving the library facilities if I put it together?

          1. I would sign a petition. I’m sure many people in the neighborhood would. The problem is how do you communicate the costs associated with this thing. The only way you would know the cost would be if you attended the weird ‘open house’ or read this blog. I’m sure most people have no idea.

            There’s a big difference between ‘do you want to replace the ugly portable toilet?’ and ‘do you want to pay 550k to replace the ugly portable toilet?’.

            I wonder if the costs were outlined in their original petition? The homeless situation around the commons was also quite a bit different 3 years ago as well.

          2. I believe the survey was about the need of a public toilet (and possibly other questions). No way did it outline the costs back then.

  1. Considering the city is paying close to $150,000 per year to maintain the two Honey Buckets at the park (now one Honey Bucket), I would hope they calculated an overall cost reduction for the Portland Loo. Of course the annual city maintenance cost for the one Portland Loo will probably the same, if not higher, than contracting it out to Honey Bucket.

    1. Cost reduction balanced against increased emergency calls? I think it will be a net loss, but since that is a different agency/dept/jurisdiction (except to taxpayers!), here in Opposite Land that is a called a “Win-Win”!

  2. Horrible waste of funds, could be better spent on repairing potholes and broken sidewalks, removing dying trees and adding more corner ramps to sidewalks. That would be an appropriate expenditure of funds. Instead, the money is being spent on a bathroom for the homeless, transients, daytime drunks and heroin addicts to have a place to trash and destroy. The commons park isn’t a park anymore, it hasn’t been a public park for at least 7 years, it belongs to the bums now, not ballardites. Waste of money.

  3. Junkie the monkey had to go poo;
    Junkie the monkey tried out the new loo.
    Junkie the money enjoyed it a lot
    So Junkie the monkey smoked up some pot.
    Then Junkie the monkey needed a fix;
    Junkie the monkey up to old tricks.
    Junkie the monkey sure loves that toilet;
    But Junkie the monkey will sure as hell spoil it.

    1. I pee here and I pee there
      But I can’t hit the bowl
      When I’m doped up on smack
      Oh no, I dropped my load
      On the ground over there
      Right by the library door
      Hope you don’t step in it
      I bet I could have tried
      Portland Loo
      To take a poo
      Look its graffiti free
      Portland Loo
      To take a poo
      Portland Loo
      I’m not using you-ooh-ooh

  4. I wonder if $550k would pay for a nightly police foot patrol or 3 in Ballard.

    With all the big problems here it’s pretty strange King County Public Health made this expensive junkie magnet a “mandatory” installation. Huh.

  5. I hope everyone is enjoying all the exciting new changes and improvements in Seattle. Don’t forget to become an Amazon Prime Member and get 20% off pet items. Go Hawks!

  6. “True, the quality of life in the Sixth District has gone South since I was elected to the City Council. Crime’s up, there are junkies everywhere, the sidewalks are an obstacle course of tents, stolen property, needles and piles of excrement, you can’t keep anything that isn’t welded down and guarded by Pit Bulls…but have you checked out my shiny Loo at the Commons?”

  7. Portland Loo?
    Let’s try some names better suited to this particular moment:

    The Mike O’Brien
    The Sawant Stop
    Ed’s Place
    The Seattle Sh*thole
    The Gastropub-lic Restroom
    The Nordstrom Pooper
    The Money Pit
    Bruce Harrell’s Credibility
    The Mosqueada
    Or how about just calling it THE SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL?

    Friendly reminder the same people who (rightfully, to some extent) complain about muh Pentagon defense spending seem at ease burning vast tax fortunes on junkie hobos and $550k toilets.

    1. I’m just a Ballard junkie hobo,
      Smokin’ dope ‘n drinkin’ mountain dew.
      I can’t stop to beg for money,
      Cuz I’ve got a new girlfriend in the Loo!

    2. Maybe hold a contest to see how many can actually hit the hole. Gonna be a few duce misses, I’m pretty sure. And, then there are the needles.

  8. Well I certainly hope our vulnerable neighbors experiencing homelessness are able to hit the seat and not, say, the library.

  9. This discussion has gotten really sidetracked. The focus should be on what the appropriate symbol should be on the outside to indicate the appropriate “gender” that can use it. The male/female thing in the picture is unacceptable in this city!

  10. also, the “urban rest stop” is already moments away for the bums, what is the real reason for this thing?

    king county public health ought to consider making it mandatory for the RV’s to stop dumping sewage everywhere and maybe, just maybe, stop pretending that being a junkie is a disease that could strike you down like cancer or Parkinsons.

  11. Now now everyone, don’t be so quick to poopoo this idea. Maybe it’s not a total waist. This could become a real fixture of the community. Evacuate those bad thoughts. Be part of the fiber of the community! Imagine playing corn hole in the park and having a bathroom right there! Or maybe it will be a hemorrhoid on Ballard Commons.

  12. Have they considered just not running water at the park to avoid the need for a toilet? Families don’t really seem to use that water park enough to justify a half million dollar toilet. Most families avoid it due to the loitering taking place close by that the loo would just further encourage.

  13. Commons update for Saturday. There is an RV parked in the south east corner and a person with a bonfire near the skate bowl. After calling police and being transferred to fire, I’m told cooking and warming fires are fine. This is all fine.

    1. One good shot from a fire extinguisher will take care of that. Make sure to bring something to protect yourself.

      As Ballard residents we need to speak up and stand up. Let them know they are not welcome in a safe way.

      I had a squatter in a house near me that would light fires. I would call the fire department and they would come every time. I would say the fire looks unsafe, which was the truth.

    2. The fire department came out, rinsed the hobo urine off of the skate park concrete (yes, the hobo urinated on his burning pile of paper), and sprayed down the smoldering pile of paper as well.

  14. I went to the open house today (which has now wrapped up). Sharing what I understood from my discussion with the hosts of the event.

    1. The effort is apparently in response to a State-level (parks?) ordinance requiring a running-water toilet within 100 FEET of a water feature in a park (the fountain). I haven’t been able to find the ordinance language, but I am curious to learn more about what the intent is.

    2. The plan requires the application for a variance as the ordinance technically requires independent Male and Female facilities (I’m not sure if the variance has been approved yet).

    3. The project is being overseen by Parks (now) and has been ongoing since 2015. Apparently, it’s bounced across a few agencies and desks (SDOT, Parks, SPD, etc).

    4. The facility is planned to be cleaned 3x/day by the parks crew that does other park washroom facilities. They will be adding a vehicle and equipment to the fleet in year one for about $65k (on top of the $550k).

    5. The annual upkeep is then expected to be about $36k

    6. Most of the cost is consulting/engineering/construction. The facility is about $125k. It is not manufactured in WA, but in OR by a company that holds patents on the design (even though the project was supposedly sponsored and contributed to by the city).

    7. In 2014/15 there was a survey done to assess community feedback on the park / toilet situation. About 630 surveys were collected.

    8. The current plan is that it will not operate 24 x 7, but during park hours. Apparently they will have a remote (un)lock function which will allow them to change the hours. The project team would like to see it available 24 hours, but doesn’t have enough data to determine what that would mean in terms of upkeep / costs / safety. Some of the facilities in Portland operate 24 hrs even for parks that have dawn/dusk hours.

    9. From research online, there are claims about how it is a “safer” design that resists “extended stays”, drug use, multi-party use, etc… through CPTED features. From what I gather, this really boils down to the angled louvers that allows for limits seeing/hearing what is happening in the loo. The anti-vandalism aspect of the facility seems to be the choice of stainless steel and easily replaceable panels. Unclear how much is in the budget for keeping it graffiti/etching free.

    10. The reps at the open house had no usage statistics on the current chem toilet in the park and said that there wouldn’t be automatic data collection on usage of the new half-million dollar toilet. (Apparently they are trying to get the chem toilet operator to give them an estimate on usage, but to date have failed). So, it seems that the “data” being fed into the decision seems to be mostly 630 surveys from 3 years ago and the State ordinance rather than hard data like use counts of the facilities.

    The contact for the project is CJ de Leon. 206-684-8568 or CJ.deLeon@seattle.gov.

    Personal opinion:

    I can’t believe that we can remotely consider a $550k single toilet project a reasonable use of funds. While I appreciate that city / public facilities have necessarily higher requirements and costs, 5 year costs are going to be $750k on this, or roughly $150k/year for the first 5 years. That’s insane, even in Ballard dollars.

    280 feet away (using crosswalks) or 200 feet as the crow flies is the Ballard Public Library facilities. Not only have taxpayers paid to build it as a community facility, but the restrooms can be closed off from the library itself. Can’t speak for the Women’s room, but the Men’s room has 2 stalls, 2 urinals a baby-changing station and sinks.

    So, we have a dry, heated, city-owned space that has better facilities already. It’s just twice as far as the 100′ ordinance and might have some hour restrictions (although I imagine that it’s always open, or could be made to be always open during the operation of the fountain).

    Rather than using the variance application to avoid having to add a second toilet to address the gender issue, let’s tell the state that the few visitors that enjoy the small water feature 3-4 months a year are able to walk the extra 100 feet. Let’s not crouch behind this silly rule (because rules can change and variances can be had, or we could turn off the fountain) and really solve the problem that our community needs high-availability, safe and clean public toilets.

    If there needs to be enhancements made to the library facilities, let’s put the money into it. It’s a better long-term use of funds that will serve more people, better. Heck, at $150k/year I bet you could staff attendants in both men’s and women’s rooms with toothpaste, mouthwash and mints!

    Public restrooms are a real need and I’d love to see traction on this. Half-million dollar free-standing prison toilets don’t seem like the right answer. Why not INVEST in existing facilities like the library, St. Lukes, etc… in our communities to improve their services to the community and deliver better facilities?

    We can do better than half-million dollar prison toilets.

    1. Good info. Thank you. I also heard about the truck and 3x a day cleaning.

      I will add I asked how this toilet discourages drug use. The answer was the slats that make it so if someone is just standing around they are visible from the shoulders up. (Can’t they just sit?) and at night the internal light has a blue tint which makes it hard to distinguish between skin and veins. There will also be a “sharps disposal unit” in it to help discourage disposal of needles on the ground or in bushes. Though this seems it would encourage shooting up in the toilet.

      I also asked about removing the water feature and replacing with a playground all kids, not just those in bathing suits, can enjoy. They said there are plans for adding a play ground but the parks department likes the water features in parks and wants to keep them.

      1. The Library bathrooms have sharps disposal as well.

        I’m really upset by the lack of actual data going into this plan. How many days / hours / year is the precious feature used? How many people use it?

        I’m sure that the library is open 90%+ of the operating hours of the water feature. If that’s what you’re solving for, get a variance on the distance issue.

        If you’re trying to provide public restrooms for the community, extend the hours and install some signage for the library and update anything that needs updating.

        630 3 year old surveys and some problems reported with the chem toilets is insufficient grounds for this solution in my opinion.

    2. I stoped by today and got the same info. I let them know in no uncertain terms that I think this plan is insane. I can’t belive 550k+ of my tax dollars is going to a deluxe crapper that is pretty much only gonna be used by the homeless residents in and around the park.

      Given that two of the previous porta toilets have been trashed in the last year including one that was firebombed/melted/burned down I highly doubt that this will last even a year.

      I think given the increasingly crappy situation around the park removing the toilet is the best option. The homeless can use the Urban Rest Stop or the library or the St Luke’s toilet. If removing the toilet means turning off the water feature then so be it.

      Serious Question. What city official approved this? I’m as much of a progresssive as anyone in these parts but this is nuts. We need to start voting for people that have actual solutions. 550K deluxe crappers are the opposite of a pragmatic solution and certainly not where I want my tax money going. Spend the money helping the homeless with programs that actually get them off the streets.

    3. So, if the loo operates only during peak hours, what are the Park/ St. Luke’s hobos supposed to do the rest of the time? I know. Do exactly what they are doing now. St. Luke’s needs to shut down their pigeon feeding program, as they are contributing to a growing health hazard in a public park space.

    1. Another one of their feral pet drug addict losers. The blood from all these attacks is on the bum apologists hands. The City Government and their extreme-left voters has fostered the conditions so bums can rum amok.

  15. I hope someone slaps a “Recall O’Brien” poster on it the first day it’s in operation. Maybe one inside too, right above the crapper.

    1. I hope someone slaps a sticker on the outside that’s says ‘This toilet cost you 550k dollars and 36k/yr in maitenance’. The general public is not gonna have any idea about this. We need to start highlighting examples of gross misuse of our tax dollars.

      Wouldn’t hurt to send a note to the local papers and news outlets as well. Shine a light on this.

  16. I’m excited for heroin addict-enablers to use it.
    Heck, take have your 7-year old kid use it since Ballard is so safe and clean, and the pet bums are so harmless.

  17. I wouldn’t use this. I don’t use the same bathroom facilities a homeless person would use. How gross, you don’t know where they’ve been. Could you ladies imagine sitting on this seat after some homeless man had just used it? YUCK!!! Homeless people are gross.

    1. And unfortunately some of these homeless have lice too ! So it would be smarter to just pee your pants instead of sitting on one of these toilets ! Sorry to say body lice can cost a lot of money to fumigate your clothing bedding and whatever else !

  18. My neighbor is an enabler.

    He hosts two transients at his house. He thinks they are cool. I am across the street and see all kinds of goings on. Other transients come and go with small packages, at all times, usually when my neighbor is asleep. (He keeps odd hours)

    When I talk to my neighbor, he “doesn’t know what to do.”

    He’s just like OBrien!

  19. These things are all over Paris, France. It is really nice to be here visiting and being able to pee without being forced to ‘be a customer’. It is also really nice to sit on park benches everywhere. Looking at the beautiful and abundant architectural wonders instead of the ‘hardi panel’ Amazon inspired boxes infilling everywhere is also really nice.

Leave a Reply