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Another Portland Blog

Monday, June 14, 2004

 

Future toilets

It's bad enough watching Seattle galavant around with its new, fancy-schmancy downtown library. Now they have these.

Not only has the Emerald City beat Portland in the space library race, now they've got FUTURE POTTIES! ON PUBLIC STREETS NO LESS! Why, they're LIGHT YEARS ahead of us. The denizens of Stumptown may as well still be living in trees.

Wait, now that I think of it, some of us do live in trees. *ahem*

Seattle rolled out their fleet of high-tech public toilets over the weekend. Armed with elevator-style doors, floors that wash themselves after 50 uses and a freindly voice that reminds users they have 15-minutes to go wa-wa or doo-doo, they're actually getting mixed reviews.

According to the Seattle Times, the potties are clogged with...no, not TP but glitches.Users complain that the door on one stall doesn't always close. In Pioneer Square's, the green light that indicates it's safe to enter came on while the it was still occupied. When a passer-by pushed the button, it revealed a man releaving himself. Several men, tired of long waits at the one near Pike Place Market, took turns urinating on its exterior walls.

Will Seattle's super-potties overcome these initial growing pains? I can't speak for the rest of Portland but who cares? A malfunctioning toilet in a pinch is still better than no toilet at all. Pedestrains downtown would likely agree. Currently, (that I know of) there's only a handful of public restrooms available to those of us who make the mistake of not "going before we go." The ones at Pioneer Square require tokens. The Central Library's have limited hours. The toilets in the Park Blocks always seem to be locked. This leaves two real options: the overcrowded, always smelly bathrooms near the food court at Pioneer Square or the overcrowded, always smelly bathrooms at Powell's Books. If you're hanging around on Broadway, there's a six block or more hike to either and neither is self-cleaning.

I have a dream. I have a dream that everyone in Portland will one day live in a city where they will not be judged by their ability to con clerks into using private restrooms but by the content of their bowels. And if Portland is to be a great city, this must become true. So let public toilets ring.

Pee free at last. Pee free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are pee-free at last!

UPDATE: Sho recently visited the library and took pictures. This one belongs on the cover of a space rock album.

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