The City of Santa Rosa has opened a new standalone “Portland Loo” restroom in downtown Santa Rosa to provide community members and visitors with an additional accessible public restroom option within the downtown corridor.
The restroom, located in front of City Hall Annex at 94 Santa Rosa Avenue, is free to use and open 24 hours a day. Originally created in Portland, Ore., “the Loos are designed specifically to prevent problems that are commonly experienced with public toilets,” according to the company’s website.
“Over the years, we have heard from residents about the need for more public restrooms in the downtown,” said City of Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers. “Community members will be relieved to see the installation of the Portland Loo finally complete.”
The Portland Loo is a single occupant, unisex restroom and features coated stainless-steel walls that are difficult to vandalize and easy to clean. A hand-washing station and a baby changing station is mounted on the exterior of the facility and the Portland Loo has an open bottom and top allowing site lines and sounds to carry outside the restroom to help prevent crime while still providing privacy. The solar-powered restroom also requires minimal utilities using just 1.28 gallons of water per flush and a max 60-watt energy load.
In June 2019, the Santa Rosa City Council approved the purchase of the prefabricated Portland Loo facility and on December 17, 2019 approved the installation location. The project cost, including purchase and fabrication of the restroom, transportation, utility connections, site accessibility improvements, and installation, totals $267,795.
The City of Santa Rosa, under the direction of City Council, is installing a 24-hour single occupant all gender accessible public restroom along the City owned property frontage at 90 Santa Rosa Avenue. This will be the first 24-hour public restroom in the downtown corridor. The restroom, called The Portland Loo, is designed for durability, safety, security and energy efficiency.
When determining placement for the Portland Loo, City staff identified seventeen possible locations within the downtown core and explored potential impacts to converting existing downtown restrooms to 24-hour use. However, associated upgrade and maintenance costs to converting existing downtown restrooms proved unsustainable. The decision to locate the Portland Loo at the City Annex meets key criteria for placement such as, safety and visibility, utility connectivity and proximity to the downtown core.
Installation preparations began in February with the construction of the utility connections, and recently the building foundation and accessible routes were completed. The City will receive the restroom facility on site the week of August 31. Delivery of the restroom will require the use of a crane to lift the restroom off the delivery truck and set it in place on the building foundation.
During the delivery, expect to see pedestrian detours and traffic controls in place on Santa Rosa Avenue, between 1st Street and 2nd Street. After delivery of the restroom, a few weeks will be required to connect the building to utilities and complete site improvements. While the restroom may be completed by the end of September, the public opening is contingent upon the Sonoma County Public Health Officers Order.