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More fancy public toilets coming to Seattle

The city plans to install a Portland Loo in Pioneer Square. If the new public toilet is successful, they may explore adding more public toilets around the city. (Image courtesy Portland Loo)

The city has plans to install a new high-tech toilet in Pioneer Square as part of a pilot program to provide better public restroom access around Seattle.

Seattle’s previous efforts with such automated public toilet stations weren’t horribly successful.

In 2004, the city installed the toilets, including ones near Pike Place Market, Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square to address public toilet need. By 2008, the toilets that cost $1 million each were shut down due to misuse, abuse, and malfunctioning.

In a post on Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s blog, the new model of toilet the city is exploring is identified as the “Portland Loo.”

Each Portland Loo costs $90,000, according to their website, and this first toilet, to be placed near the Sinking Ship Garage in Pioneer Square, will reportedly be covered by non-city sources of funding.

A nearby developer has agreed to cover costs of the project in exchange for the right to build 130 feet higher than the current height limit in the area. According to the plan, ownership of the toilet would be transferred over to the city once it is operational.

The Alliance for Pioneer Square would be responsible operation, maintenance, and cleaning of the new public toilet.

If the toilet works out well, the mayor’s blog post says they might explore expanding the program to other neighborhoods around the city.

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