They’re not gold-plated toilets but they will cost property taxpayers a pretty penny. A bond measure that will ask Anchorage voters to spend $12.5 million bond to install up to 30 “Portland Loos” or similar toilets across the municipality passed the Assembly on Tuesday.
The fancy-but-functional outdoor toilets, which are plumbed and have electricity to them, would cost taxpayers more than $416,000 apiece, according to the measure, which has been dubbed by the Assembly, “Anchorage Goes.”
Aside from the possibly awkward “Anchorage Goes” branding, it’s something that will specifically help the homeless and possibly prevent human excrement from showing up all over sidewalks and greenbelts.
“Public restrooms have been a common feature in cities, along with other public health and hygiene amenities such as drinking fountains, seating areas, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities such as parks, transit stations, and community centers,” said the Assembly members who sponsored the measure.
The public toilets will help the people living on the streets who have no where else to go.
Portland Loos have cost a variable amount, depending on where they have been installed; but according to other cities, they each cost about $12,000 annually to maintain.
In Chicago, the loos have been subjected to vandalism and have been used for prostitution. They have attracted tent cities that grow around them.
“Problems there have included drug use and prostitution within the loo and homeless people living nearby in small tents. Vandals and users have also broken the loo’s door off the hinges and destroyed the lock several times, and there was flooding when the nozzle on the loo’s outdoor sink was broken,” reported the Chicago Tribune in 2015.
San Diego, a city with 1.4 million people, spent spent more than $500,000 installing just two of the loos. But with various maintenance costs and complaints from residents, the city put one of them in storage.
Anchorage Assembly members Chris Constant, Meg Zaletel, and Anna Brawley were the sponsors of the bond measure, which voters will decide on the April 2, 2024.