Molalla park restroom alternative being pursued
Park restrooms will continue to be closed in Molalla for the foreseeable future. But, the hope is that soon those with a need to use the facilities will have an alternative. That's the word from Molalla City Manager Dan Huff.
"We are struggling right now with park restrooms. It's a problem," Huff said during the April 14 city council meeting. "I know it's an issue, but there's real cost in opening up those restrooms."
Huff pointed to years of struggle with keeping the restrooms cleaned and open, citing vandalism and destruction and "I call it hazmat work that has to be done periodically," he said.
But with the weather warming and park use already rising, Huff said something would need to be done. So, the city has asked for bids on porta-potties that will go into the parks.
"The reason the bathrooms are closed right now (is) because there are protocols that we have to meet to have public restrooms open and we can't do it. It's too costly and we don't have the staff available to do it. And frankly, there are times when I don't even want to send my staff into those restrooms to clean them."
So, the city has turned toward the portable toilets as an alternative. Huff said city officials are looking at convenience, cost savings and other factors that would play into portable toilets in Molalla parks.
"I know people are using the parks and we want people to use the parks and if you have an issue you need a place to go," Huff said. "We are working on that. We have real issues with that in Molalla. We're not exempt from vandalism, and you saw the pictures of Pianos in the Park. It's an issue.
"Folks need to call the police department when they see something. It's the only way we can deal with it. Posting on Facebook isn't going to get anything happening."
Council President Leota Childress applauded the effort to address restrooms in Molalla parks.
"I think what you're doing with the restrooms is great," she said. "We're not the only city; everywhere today public amenities of all sorts are being vandalized. It's a terrible cost that the city has to incur. I'm glad to see you moving in that direction."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.