Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

My Photo
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Portable toilets

Sanikans. Porta-potties. The Seattle City Council once thought there was enough of a crisis for public bathrooms in Seattle to invest in a set of self-cleaning stainless steel units at $1 million per unit. 

These became immediately popular with people looking for a place for quicky hook-ups and were a nightmare for nearby businesses. After they were removed, the portable toilets became a joke for locals and a symbol of the stupid ways our representatives can spend money.

A decade before this, I convinced the city to put a humble portable toilet in front of Operation Nightwatch. It was sort of tricky, since we were located on a very steep stretch of Wall Street at the time. The thing had to sit on skids that made it roughly level, but it sort of rocked around when a person   entered, and nightmares of tipping over and being covered in . . . whatever would run through the mind of every user. So despite the presence of the toilet, the guys would continue to pee in the alley behind Nightwatch.

“Why?” I would ask them. “No one likes to go in the sanikan, because everyone knows you’re in there.” Ok, homeless guys with shy bladders. I get that.

Then I observed something which I could not fully explain. A kitchen worker from a high-end steak place across the street (“El Gouge-o”) came out in his dress whites and used the sanikan, in front of all the homeless guys waiting in line for a cup of soup and a shelter assignment.

Explain that, if you can. Didn’t want to disturb the dining room? Drug user? Nostalgic former Nightwatch patron?


Blogger Gino said...

You talk about portable toilets, and how the citizens of Seattle should provide them like we have had no consideration in the past. Idiot; Seattle has. In Pioneer Square toilets were installed for the homeless. Their response was to plug them with trash, shit, and piss all over the floor. Fuck you sympathy seeking lowlife MFer's. Get out of our city of Seattle, and don't come back.

2:42 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home