City planning for high-tech toilets in Pioneer Square

by: Rick Price Updated:

Portland Loo (Photo via Mayor McGinn)
SEATTLE —

Five years after a multimillion dollar fail, Seattle is trying again to put a public toilet in Pioneer Square.

Mayor Mike McGinn’s blog says his office will roll out the plan in a public meeting Wednesday night.  The plan is to install a so-called “Portland Loo” near the west end of the Sinking Ship garage.

The city debuted high-tech, self-cleaning automated restrooms in 2004.  But critics said they were becoming magnets for crime and prostitution, and in 2008, the city removed the German-made toilets which had cost a million dollars apiece.  In addition to that cost, Seattle had to spend more than $800,000 to end the contract early.

By comparison, each Portland Loo costs only about $90,000.

A check of the Internet overnight turned up only one story of problems since Portland installed their restrooms in 2008.  That was when one of the solar-powered Portland Loos froze up in a snowstorm.

The mayor’s blog does not specify when or where Wednesday night’s meeting is.  We’re working to find that out.