I’ve been hearing concerns from many that our downtown public spaces feel unwelcoming. As someone who lives and works downtown, I am committed to creating a civic center that is safe, healthy and welcoming to all. I’m working on several ideas including making it easier to access a restroom for everyone who lives, works and visits downtown.
- The City of Seattle is installing a Portland Loo style public flush toilet in Occidental Park by the end of 2015. While not as grand as the historic luxury public hygiene facilities in Pioneer Square (installed in 1908 and closed in the 1950s), it will make a considerable difference in the health and safety of everyone in the area.
- My office is creating a current map of hygiene facilities available to the public, including public facilities and businesses that make restrooms available to customers. One very helpful tool we’re using to create this map is the Sit or Squat application, which allows users to search for nearby facilities on their smart phones or computers.
- The Urban Rest Stop located downtown on 9th Avenue between Virginia and Stewart is struggling to find funding to maintain its current level of service. This program is an important resource for those who do not have a place to call home. It provides free, publicly accessible restrooms as well as showers and laundry facilities. The environment is welcoming and sanitary, and trained staff offer referrals to patrons seeking housing, health care, and other basic needs. We need to keep this facility open.
Seattle has been investing in public hygiene facilities for over 100 years. Having open restrooms twenty four hours each day is critical to making our city clean, safe, and welcoming for all. One of my priorities for the 2015-2016 budget is to create a solution to fund these necessary programs downtown and in other neighborhoods city wide.