San Antonio City Council Approves Purchase of 24-Hour Downtown Public Restroom


The exterior of a Portland Loo. - COURTESY MADDEN FABRICATION
  • Courtesy Madden Fabrication
  • The exterior of a Portland Loo.
Soon, you won't have to buy a pack of gum or a sweet tea to use the bathroom Downtown.

San Antonio City Council approved a $97,700 expenditure today to buy a Portland Loo, a stand-alone, 24-hour, unisex public bathroom. Councilman Roberto Treviño, an architect, spearheaded the effort. Few public bathrooms currently exist Downtown.

"We want more and more people to come Downtown, and we need to make downtown more accessible. This is one of the basic services that the city is supposed to be providing," Treviño said to the San Antonio Current in February.

The loo is made by Madden Fabrication, a Portland-based company that was the project's lone bidder. The company has installed 24 Portland Loos in over a dozen cities since 2007.

Multiple bids are typically required for projects such as this, but the loo got an exemption because the project is meant "to preserve or protect the public health or safety of the city's residents." Upkeep will cost about $1,000 a month. 

The loo's design is meant to mitigate crime, since there are ventilation openings near its ceiling and floor. These slits make it clear whether or not someone is inside without compromising privacy. A blue overhead LED also lights up when someone enters the bathroom. Its hand-washing station is on the outside, and its flushing mechanisms are gravity-driven and designed to be sturdy.

The loo will arrive in San Antonio sometime within the next three months. It's unclear where it will be placed, but Treviño and Pat DiGiovanni, president and CEO of Centro San Antonio, previously floated a few ideas, displayed on the map below with current public restrooms:

Read more about the Portland Loo and what it could mean to Downtown in this Current feature from February.

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