Will this solve Olympia's potty problem?

The City of Olympia recently renovated and opened a 24-hour restroom at Percival Landing.
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The City of Olympia recently renovated and opened a 24-hour restroom at Percival Landing.
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Can a new downtown toilet flush away Olympia’s poop problem?

By Amelia Dickson

adickson@theolympian.com

June 03, 2017 07:00 AM

The city of Olympia took a step toward meeting the demand for 24-hour restrooms Friday, opening newly remodeled facilities at Percival Landing.

The restroom — located at the end of Sylvester Street near Bayview Thriftway — joins a 24-hour porta-potty at the Artesian Commons Park, porta-potties on Adams Street near the Salvation Army, and a temporary, state-run bathroom at Heritage Park as downtown Olympia’s all-hours restrooms.

The Percival Landing restroom was originally built in the 1980s, when the public area was first developed, said Kip Summers, a city project manager. The Olympia City Council decided to renovate the structure to make it accessible and open it 24 hours because of concern about human waste being left downtown.

Initially, four restrooms could be accessed through alcoves in the Percival Landing building, Summers said. Two of the original restrooms are still accessible from an alcove and are closed at night.

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Access to a third restroom was moved to the front of the building, and it is always open.

“That way, people can see the door from the street, and there’s better surveillance,” Summers said.

City officials plan to install additional 24-hour restrooms downtown — including a heavy-duty permanent structure at the Artesian Commons Park.

The Olympia City Council has been searching for solutions to the city’s “potty problem” as downtown business owners grow weary of human waste in their doorways. Meanwhile, groups are pushing for more restroom access for residents who are homeless.

Protesters clashed with Washington State troopers over restroom access in December. Members of Just Housing — who were advocating for 24-hour bathroom access — occupied restrooms at Heritage Park, which is operated by the state of Washington. Five people were arrested, and the state temporarily closed the restrooms.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445, @Amelia_Oly