A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany drops grant-funded depot restroom

Written October 14th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The grounds of Albany Station were not exactly overcrowded Saturday afternoon, just before Amtrak Train 11 stopped on its way to Los Angeles.

Albany Station may one day have a public restroom available when the station is closed, but it won’t be soon.

As recommended by the city staff, the city council voted 4-2 on Oct. 11 to cancel two government grants to build an outside restroom at the train station. Councilwomen Ramycia McGhee and Steph Newton voted against canceling the grants.

The grants plus local matches of 20 percent would have provided $389,000 for the restroom project. But the staff estimated the cost of the two-stall facility at about $440,000.

To go ahead with the project, the staff said, the council would have to find and approve more money.

Discussion of the issue touched on why the anticipated cost was so high. One reason was that underground utilities — either water or sewer — would have to be extended a long distance.

Buses or trains stop at the station before the building opens and after it closes, putting the men’s and women’s restrooms inside out of reach at those times.

Also, when the station is open, the restrooms are available only to Amtrak passengers, according to signs on the doors.

Council nembers generally seemed to support the idea of adding a restroom outside. The city staff said they would continue to work on finding a solution that didn’t cost as much (hh)

The lettering on one of the Albany Station doors states the Amtrak restroom policy.

23 responses to “Albany drops grant-funded depot restroom”

  1. Cap B. says:

    Oh, $440,000 is too much to come up with for needed restrooms at the train station. But, no amount, such as a million and a half smackeroos, is too much for Water Street. The Council seems to think their names will be on a huge bronze plaque for the gentrification of Water Street.

    • KinderParkNeighbor says:

      I’m currently setting up a website to showcase footage I’ve gathered of the various problems this city is plagued with that goes unattended to by the city council. One topic that hits close to home for me is the fact that people have been using Periwinkle Stream as a toilet for months. There’s a portable toilet in Kinder Park but nobody will use it because it doesn’t get cleaned.
      When my website is setup, I will be informing our city’s residents of the url when major events like the grand opening of an overpriced “luxury” hotel occur. Stay tuned.

      • Deb says:

        Thank you Kinderpark. Keep us posted.

      • Marilyn Smith says:

        Albany police and parks staff work on problems at Kinder Park continually and have done many clean-ups there.
        They have been working with a private property owner whose property near Kinder Park has had illegal campers on it for some time. The private property owner has been very helpful in remedying issues. Unfortunately, the property is in an already heavily used area.
        The City park ranger goes to Kinder Park on almost every one of her work shifts. Parks staff have tried to remove vegetation there, to reduce hiding and camp building. State officials have limited what can be removed.
        Portable toilets in the park are cleaned twice a week, on the same rotation as all the parks and Marvin’s Garden. The Kinder Park toilet probably doesn’t stay clean for long because the park is heavily used.

        • KinderParkNeighbor says:

          Yes, Kinder Park is cleaned regularly. The Periwinkle Bike Path and the stream adjacent is not. There are no tents set up on the empty lot or on the church property anymore, but people still live there. “Heavily used area”. The park ranger goes there during the daytime, not at night when the party starts. I don’t want them to cut down the trees near the stream, I want them to keep people from bathing/relieving themselves in it. As long as people are still being permitted to remain in the park or on the bike path after dark, that stream will suffer for it.

        • Bill Kapaun says:

          Have the police patrol just before dusk.

          • KinderParkNeighbor says:

            The police drive down the bike path at night a few times a week. I hear a loud whooshing noise followed by “bird calls” and people diving into those bushes along the stream. The party resumes when the coast is clear. There have been much fewer people out there since the police started patrolling. When they stopped responding to my calls, I stopped calling and my neighbors have been calling more, so I think the cops are trying now. But they let people live there for quite a while and the drunks really like the spot.

        • MarK says:

          “Yada, yada, yada. And the city streets are constantly maintained to ensure your driving pleasure.” Typical political garbage speaking.

  2. Peggy Richner says:

    Perhaps the bus companies and Amtrak will be willing to pay for toilet facilities for the use of their customers, with the added responsibility for maintenance. Additional voluntary contributions welcome.

  3. thomas earl cordier says:

    Still think portable toilet will serve the purpose. Tacky? I don’t care.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      It certainly beats relieving oneself in public. Having been through bladder cancer, with no car, there was a period of time I had to confine my errands to places I could pee.

  4. CHEZZ says:

    I will notify Amtrak that there are no restrooms at the Albany Station. They will not be happy. The amount of funding from the City of Albany to complete restroom facilities is well worth it. The Amtrak station is ALSO a gateway into Albany, Oregon. Shame on you for not accepting the grants.

  5. Richard Vannice says:

    Who owns the railroad station and the old freight building to the east?

  6. Carol Gascoigne says:

    How is it that the Council can find money for all types of projects that have dubious impact on our citizenry but decline to find enough funding for a project that would benefit many
    folks ??

    • MarK says:

      As it has been for some time, the council is out of touch with the citizens it’s “supposed” to work for.

  7. Bill Kapaun says:

    “Council nembers generally seemed to support the idea of adding a restroom outside. The city staff said they would continue to work on finding a solution that didn’t cost as much”

    Jail Labor. A slightly softer version of a chain gang. Why give former Marvin’s Garden residents inside housing for free this Winter? Honest work builds character.

  8. Sonamata says:

    We only have money when it comes to turning downtown into an old-timey theme park and subsidizing landlords. At least 2 of the councilors decided to show up and represent the Albany population and greater good.

  9. Sherri says:

    If the city is only short $51,000, why don’t they use some of the money from the 3 lots they are selling downtown ?

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      When the Mayor/City Council steals/allocates money from the rest of us to spend downtown, you know money made from the sale of ANY downtown property (which is supposedly owned by ALL OF US) is going anywhere but downtown or to cover their other REAL ESTATE SCREW UPS.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Thankfully, Albany is so much better for the decisions made by many-many different councilors over the past 20+ years. Don’t let Albany’s continued progress get you down…

        • KinderParkNeighbor says:

          I sat on my porch and listened to a crowd of junkies tell someone a hundred feet away about his friend who had to go shoplift a pair of bolt cutters so they could “get inside”. The guy asked when he’d be back and then took a dump in the river. There used to be ducks in Periwinkle Stream, now there’s “progress”.

  10. Pat Baker says:

    What am I missing here? Albany received a federal grant earmarked for a public restroom at the train station but the City Council decided to do what with it exactly?

    I’ve only lived in Albany 4 years and the first two were during the pandemic but it seems to me a public restroom for weary travelers (or those waiting for delayed trains) would be a very smart way to use the money. A Port o’ Potty seems a disgustingly poor first impression of our city. Not to mention a very effective petrie dish for spreading disease.


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