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Here’s a solution to Rochester’s downtown bathroom problem: The Portland Loo.

They’re so awesome, they have a Facebook fan club. The utilitarian steel structures don’t have any frills, such as sinks and mirrors, but there’s room for artwork on the doors. The patented, solar-powered bathrooms can withstand fires. They’re designed to make you want to do your business and get out. The Atlantic noted the openings at the top and bottom:

It may make the water closet look like a cage for a gorilla, but these apertures have critical importance. Cops can peep in near the ground to make sure there’s no more than one set of feet inside. The openings also help sound flow freely, letting pedestrians hear the grunts and splashes of the person inside and the person inside hear the footsteps and conversation of pedestrians. Nobody wants to stick around such a toilet for long.

A single Portland Loo costs about $100,000. Perhaps the downtown business district would be willing to sponsor a couple. They would certainly be an improvement to the ugly, green stalls outside the Sibley building.

How about it?

8 Responses to Roc Potty, Meet the Portland Loo

  1. January 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm Michele responds:

    The open top for me would not cut it. I can understand the vented bottom, but the top is not appealing at all. Who wants to hear someone going to the bathroom, be it #1 or #2?

  2. I think it’s an excellent idea. Aren’t these sort of things fairly common place in Europe? Maybe not this design but public loos that aren’t horrible cramped and disgusting port-o-potties.

    • Seattle’s were different, according to The Atlantic:

      Then there’s Seattle’s disastrous deployment of automatic lavatories. The city would have been better feeding the $5 million it paid for them down the swirling gullet of a Starbucks commode. The design of the john allowed anybody to lock the door and turn it into their own private fiefdom.

      With trash piling up on the floor, the self-cleaning mechanisms became useless. By the end of their run, in 2008, even drug addicts had stopped using Seattle’s toilets. They eventually wound up at bargain-level prices on eBay.

  3. I have seen these in Paris and a number of cities in the Netherlands but this is the first I’ve seen in the States. The European versions I’ve seen are a bit more stark than this one.

  4. Dear Rachel,

    It hardly ever snows in Portland. You want to settle your tushy on a cold seat? Brush the snow off the pot before you go? Break the ice in the bowl? That is all.


  5. They have something similar in Amsterdam, ironically next to a canal.


  6. We love them in Portland. Every new opening is a celebration. True, Rochester has sub-zero winters. But that means you have interior spaces, plazas, malls. Why not place on in a semi-inside public space. No more worries about restroom misuse.

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