A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Portable toilets: City’s survey ends today

Written May 11th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

On May 7, the restrooms at Monteith Riverpark remained “closed for the season,” but a portable toilet was available hehind the building.

Over the weekend I rode the bike through Monteith Riverpark. The restrooom situation there reminded me that the Albany City Council is not yet done with portable toilets.

The situation in the park was that the permanent restrooms were closed — for the season, signs on the doors said — but there was a portable toilet set up right next to the building.

The city code does not allow portable toilets except as a temporary solution at construction sites or special events. It doesn’t say anything about parks, and in several parks the city has permanently stationed portapotties for years.

At Bryant Park, someone apparently set fire to a whole row of portables a couple of weeks ago and they all melted to the ground, which might bolster the argument that portables sometimes lead to problems and therefore are best avoided.

On March 23, though, the city council directed its staff to draft an amendment to the city code that would allow portable toilets under certain circumstances. This was after the council voted 5-1 to authorize a portable outside the First Christian Church on Washington Street for another year.

A few months ago Albany contracted with Polco, a polling company, to conduct online opinion surveys for the city. One of the current polls, open until today (May 11), asks about “portable toilets in Albany.” You can reach the poll here.

Albany residents are invited to answer this: “Should the city allow portable toilets on private property for public use?”

Then, should portables be allowed in residential neighborhoods? And what would be a good length of time to allow portables on private property? The choices range from longer than six months down to as little as 30 days, or “other.”

One question it doesn’t ask is this: Why restrict portables on private property but not on city property like parks?

To take the survey, you have to use your email address, and once you’ve taken it you can’t do so again.

Presumably the results will inform the amended ordinance the city staff draws up. And whether the council takes the poll’s advice we’ll find out when the issue comes up for a vote. (hh)

The portable outside the closed brick-and-mortar restroom at Monteith Riverpark on Sunday.

3 responses to “Portable toilets: City’s survey ends today”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    It’s ridiculous that local government has the power to regulate private property in this way.

    But since the city is asking….yes….allow Honeypots on private property for public use.

    Just make sure the ordinance requires Loo’s that are “affordable” and “high density.”

    And don’t forget to charge a Loo tax for every permit that is issued. If permits are not mandated, then add the Loo tax to the property’s water/sewer bill.

    No good deed must go unpunished.


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