Dirty public toilet with graffiti

Plagued by continued vandalism, crime and drug use at one of its parks, the city of Shoreline, Washington purchased $115,000 worth of single occupancy restrooms built to curb illegal acts, reports KIRO 7.

The stand-alone restrooms, named “Portland Loos” after the city by which they were developed, discourage criminal acts by allowing people standing outside of the space to see if more than one person is using the toilet area at the same time. A sort of restroom kiosk, the Portland Loo further discourages crime with graffiti-proof walls and open grating, according to the toilet’s developer.

Portland Loos, which are powered by solar energy, are always lit, so that outsiders can see if the space is in use, even in the dark.

First built a decade ago, Portland Loos have been installed in a number of cities and the rationale for their development is sound. Graffiti and other forms of vandalism have long-plagued restrooms throughout the United States. And with drug addiction becoming more widespread, addicts are increasingly found using drugs in public and commercial restrooms.

The implementation of single-occupant restrooms also help to solve another issue: the lack of public restroom accessibility. A bill was passed by the city Washington, D.C. late last year to allow research into a pilot program that would see freestanding public restrooms placed in areas where they are needed. Similar acts have occurred in Portland, New York and San Fransisco. Los Angles has attempted to fund mobile bathrooms in an effort to minimize the amount of public urination and defecation caused by its homeless population.