Standalone restroom for downtown Greenfield expected to arrive in June

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 01-01-2023 2:47 PM

GREENFIELD — The long-awaited standalone restroom, known as a Portland Loo, has been ordered and is expected to arrive in June.

“I think it’ll deter some behaviors, and I think if we come together as a community … it’ll be a great option for the city,” said Health Director Jennifer Hoffman. “We do need it for everybody because there’s no public bathroom in the city.”

Hoffman said the Portland Loo, set to be installed behind the former Wilson’s Department Store near the skate park project that is now underway, will be a step in the right direction following the concerns raised in June 2021 over the amount of trash and hypodermic needles that are left in the Olive Street Parking Garage and in local parks, as well as concern for the garage being a site of public defecation and urination.

“People need to have a place where they can go to the bathroom,” Hoffman said. “It’s not just for our homeless; it’s for everybody … and it’s going to be maintained as such.”

In November 2021, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner set aside $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to buy the Portland Loo, a standalone restroom “specifically designed to prevent problems that are commonly experienced in public toilets,” the company’s website states.

“(The Portland Loo) discourages illegal activity,” the mayor told city councilors at the time. “It has blue lights, so it’s more difficult to use it for intravenous drug use.”

Public Works Director Marlo Warner II, who has been working with Hoffman on the project, said the purchase includes a hand-washing station, a trash receptacle, sharps containers and a baby changing table.

Prior to its June delivery, Warner said the Department of Public Works will prepare the area by laying a concrete slab for the structure to sit on, and by connecting water, electricity and sewer to the site.

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Maintenance is expected to be “fairly easy,” he said, noting there will be a garden hose on site and a utility cabinet for custodial use.

At a recent City Council meeting, Precinct 3 Councilor Virginia “Ginny” DeSorgher commented that she was glad to hear the Portland Loo had been ordered.

“I’m thrilled for all the folks downtown that need it and will use it,” she said.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

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