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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

New public restrooms headed to Downtown Davis

Portland Loos will be installed in April, designed to be accessible to public while deterring crime

Two new public restrooms are set to be installed this spring in Downtown Davis, according to an update by Davis city staff on Feb. 11. The restrooms, called the Portland Loos, will be installed in April at the G Street Plaza and at the west end of the E Street parking lot.

Dianna Jensen, the city engineer and presenter at Tuesday’s meeting, clarified the delivery times for the restrooms. 

“We are moving forward with the Portland Loo,” Jensen said. “We were a little worried because at some point, they told us they couldn’t have it until June.”

After discussing it with the president of the Portland Loo, however, city staff was able to get the delivery set to April, according to Jensen. 

The restrooms discussion occurred during a midyear update by city staff. The City of Davis is working on 63 capital improvement projects during the 2019-20 fiscal year, one of which is the installation of the Portland Loos. 

The Portland Loos are constructed in Portland, Oregon by the City of Portland and a local metal fabricator, Madden Fabrication, before being shipped to other parts of the country and the world for installation. They have a minimalistic design specifically intended to “prevent common problems — such as vandalism, illegal drug use or prostitution,” according to the Portland Loo’s website

Evan Madden, the Sales Manager for the Portland Loo, described how the design of the bathroom uses a technique called the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) to prevent unwanted activities from occurring in the restroom.

“The simplified explanation for CPTED is that you should have open site-lines and be able to see your neighbors to know exactly what’s going on,” Madden said. “You feel like you’re being watched.”

Through the supervision of passerbyers and inclusion of restroom essentials only, the design encourages bathroom-use and discourages other activities. Madden explained how the Portland Loo is different from standard bathroom settings. 

“It’s not about making a comfortable space, but more about giving the bare necessities to make the restroom easy and accessible to anyone who needs it,” Madden said. “It’s free and open 24/7, but then it’s not so much of a burden to maintain and clean as well.”

The Portland Loos include many unique features to deter crime and increase effectiveness, including “rounded anti-graffiti wall panels, open grating, easy-to-clean coating, and interchange-able building components,” according to the Portland Loo’s website. 

Portland Loo’s bathrooms were designed to address issues Seattle faced in its experience with public restrooms, according to Madden.

“We were looking north to Seattle, as they purchased automatic public toilets,” Madden said. “Those self-cleaning restrooms were pay-to-use, had complete privacy inside the restroom and had a lot of moving parts and features that were easily vandalized and broken, so it was always needing to be repaired.”

Thus, Portland worked toward building a simpler and accessible restroom for the public, each of which costs $90,000. In Davis, the total fees for purchasing and installing the two Portland Loos will be about $500,000. 

The restrooms in Davis will add to the growing number of Portland Loos, over 10 in California and over 90 in the U.S. Councilmembers are looking forward to the new addition to downtown. 

“That’s really excellent news,” said Councilmember Lucas Frerichs in response to the new April delivery date.

Councilmember Will Arnold shared his personal experience with a Portland Loo, one of which is currently located in Emeryville. 

“We were taking a road trip with the kids to San Francisco [and] I happened to realize we were in Emeryville, so I pulled over to the Pixar studio, and we tried out the Portland Loo,” Arnold said. “It was fantastic. I’m a fan.” 

Written by: Madeleine Payne — city@theaggie.org 


  1. We don’t have money to pay fir the teachers yet we can spent $500,000 on two loos and few more millions building shelter for the homeless


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