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Become privy to these privies: Portland’s modular public restroom

This locally made, free-to-use, stand-alone toilet is working to address common public bathroom concerns.

A grey, cylindrical facility on a sidewalk with a photo of a rose on the door and a "restroom" sign next to the door.

The loos can be wrapped in vinyl, made in a variety of colors, and display advertisements.

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The problem: A serious lack of public restrooms, even (and sometimes, especially) in the densest of US cities.

Enter: The Portland Loo, a modular, stand-alone, free toilet that lies somewhere between your traditional public restroom and a port-a-potty.

Ideated and created right here in Portland, the bathroom works to address common concerns surrounding public toilets in cities — such as cleanliness and upkeep — and can be found in locations all across the US and Canada. Bonus: A portion of profits from sales in other cities supports the provision of public restrooms here in Portland. Win, win.

What’s the to-do about this loo?

  • Cleanliness | The coating of the bathrooms makes them particularly easy to clean, and all cleaning + maintenance supplies are located in a cabinet within the unit.
  • Price | The loo utilizes common components that are typically easy and cheaper to replace. Plus, each bathroom can be solar powered, making it good for the Earth and the city or organization’s wallet.
  • Aesthetic | The stainless steel paneling of the bathrooms features graffiti-proof coating, and the simple, sleek design fits in with most environments.
  • Safety | Created with input from Portland authorities, the bathroom was specifically designed for safety. Angled louvers (slats) in the walls allow for loud noises to escape while maintaining the occupant’s privacy.
  • Durability | The fixtures used are meant to be durable. If they do need to be replaced, they’re sourced from Portland rather than abroad, making the repair process quicker.
  • Ease of use | Hand washing stations are attached to the outside of the bathrooms, encouraging quick use to serve more bathroom-goers. Plus, each facility is ADA-accessible.

Where these latrines can be found

Well, pretty much everywhere. Here are a few of the 20+ local locations:

  • Jamison Square, 810 NW 11th Ave.
  • North Park Blocks, Northwest Park Avenue (from Ankeny Street to Glisan Street)
  • South Park Blocks, Southwest Park Avenue (from Salmon Street to Jackson Street)
  • Tom McCall Waterfront Park main entrance, Naito Parkway

Is there anywhere in Portland that you think could use a new loo?