Opinion

Downtown Olympia needs 24-hour restroom

After dark there are no public restrooms in downtown Olympia, and local merchants often find evidence of this shortcoming when they come to work in the morning. It makes sense there is growing interest in getting at least one 24-hour toilet for the city core.

This is a good idea. Downtown merchants are rightly tired of the odor and evidence left by some nighttime visitors in alleys and sidewalks.

Cost remains a challenge at $90,000 per unit, if the city goes for a self-contained unit known as the Portland Loo.

Where the money comes from is one issue. How to ensure it’s a well-maintained site safe and available to anyone is another. In the past, public restrooms have become unsafe or have been taken over by drug users.

“What we’re looking for from the city standpoint is a managed and maintained solution,’’ says Brian Wilson, city liaison to the downtown.

We support the effort to make this happen. The city’s Parking and Business Improvement Area has $30,000 that might be used to help pay for it, and supporters of the idea include Thurston County Public Health and Social Services and the Olympia Downtown Ambassadors and Clean Team.

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