December 19, 2012
Vol: 19 No: 51

News

City pulls the plug on toilet for homeless in Ballard park

By Amy Roe / Editor

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Following complaints that a portable toilet was a smelly eyesore that drew homeless people, the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) on Dec. 4 removed the toilet from Ballard Commons Park, 5701 22nd Ave. NW.

Workers for the city placed the toilet there in June on a trial basis, based upon information from an advisory group of Ballard residents, businesses and city department staff. The workers were relocating a similar toilet from a sidewalk at the 2100 block of Northwest Market Street.

In November, HSD asked neighbors, business owners, park users and community organizations about the toilet.

The department got an earful. Of the 332 respondents, 53 percent said they didn’t want the toilet in the park, 38 percent said they’d like the toilet to remain at the park, and 9 percent weren’t sure. More than 90 percent of the respondents were residents of Ballard, according to a press release from HSD.

HSD says it will seek “a private location for a public portable toilet” and if a location can’t be found, the parks department will allow the toilet to return to Ballard Commons Park for three months in the summer, provided it is cleaned more frequently.

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