Dayton to install two public restrooms in downtown, addressing lack of facilities and serving unhoused community members, with $334K approved
Dayton City Commissioners recently approved $334,000 to install two public restrooms in the downtown area. City officials said that’s because there’s a lack of public restrooms downtown.
The city will install two Portland Loos in downtown — solar-powered metal restrooms with angled louvers at the top and bottom to prevent drug use or other illegal activities.
Designed in partnership with the City of Portland, a private company created these stand-alone restrooms to solve common public restroom issues in urban areas. The bathrooms advertise easy-to-clean surfaces, accessibility and sleek walls to prevent graffiti.
Jason Hall, with the Dayton Police Department, said this is something the city needs, especially for the city’s unhoused community members.
“This was exacerbated during the COVID 19 pandemic because, as we know, a lot of our businesses, a lot of our employers went remote or in some cases actually shut down, which further constricted the availability of facilities for folks to use.” Hall said.
Several other cities, including Cincinnati, have installed these restrooms to address similar issues. Plans are underway to install them in downtown Columbus as well.
Downtown Dayton does have a few public restrooms, although the hours they’re open are limited, said Hilary Browning, with the city’s Planning, Neighborhood and development department,
“Five rivers MetroParks is only open during park hours. Dayton Metro Library is also only open during certain hours,” Browning said. “So we looked at all the different restroom facilities that were free and tried to find the best locations that were also where vulnerable populations were observed to be.”
One of the restrooms will be installed near Dayton City Hall. And the other near the Oregon District parking garage. Both restrooms are expected to be operational by the fall.
Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.