City has yet to install $20,000 Portland Loo

More than a year after the city bought a fancy portable bathroom from the city of San Diego off the auction block, it’s still sitting unused.

The Portland Loo is an addition to downtown many in Albuquerque say would bring relief.

“We’d be able to use the public bathroom as opposed to trying to find a restaurant or something,” Tessa Tange of Albuquerque said.

City Councilor Isaac Benton purchased the metal, public toilet last summer for people to use in his district.

A year later, it is still not installed.

News 13 looked further into the nationally popular public powder room, and an online search shows they have been flush with problems in other cities.

In San Diego, News 13’s FOX affiliate reported the loo attracted the homeless and crime. 

San Diego decided the problem was bad enough that the city got rid of it – the same one councilor Benton purchased at auction for $20,000.

That’s a fraction of the price of a brand new Portland Loo that can run more than $100,000.

But, is it worth it?

People in San Antonio and Austin shared similar concerns about the free latrines attracting crime, but said there are benefits.

That is an opinion shared by many in Albuquerque about the future public bathroom.

“As long as it’s kept generally clean, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” Tange stated.

“We have a really big crime rate anyway. I don’t see it going up more than it already is just because we put in a toilet,” Amber Helvey of Albuquerque added.

The planning department said Benton’s office has no time frame for choosing a location for the Portland Loo.

Hooking them up to water, sewage and electricity has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in other cities.

Councilor Benton bought the loo with his set-aside funds that are used for district-specific projects.

The one he purchased includes solar panels, vents and blue LED lights for nighttime use.

News 13 reached out to councilor Benton’s office for an explanation for the delay but did not hear back.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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