You Paid For It: $290k ‘crime-fighting’ commode

Park on James Island gets a trendy new toilet

You Paid For It: $290k ‘crime-fighting’ commode

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A trendy new toilet turned up at a park off Riverland Drive on James Island. And the people who developed that restroom claim it fights crime, too.

The Portland Loo was developed in Portland Oregon, and that city now features 18 of them.

The company’s website says it’s not only easy to clean and maintain, it’s built to last a hundred years. It’s also meant to prevent criminal activity.

There are three main features that allegedly fend off fiends:

  • The metal structure is “graffiti proof”
  • The angled, open slats at the top and bottom allow police or security to see how many people are inside, helping prevent drug-use and prostitution inside the unit
  • Blue lights inside are designed to prevent drug users from finding their veins

Read Portland Loo Frequently Asked Questions here.

A Portland Loo is now featured at Ferguson Village Park on James Island.

We noticed a payment for nearly $87,000 in the City of Charleston’s check registers for March labeled as “Ferguson Village Restroom" and started asking about the pricey potty.

A City of Charleston spokesperson confirmed that in total, the single restroom cost about $290,000. He said $262,000 of that was construction.

Bohicket Construction shared pictures that show the sidewalk and utilities being installed, along with the final product.

“The Ferguson Village Park Restroom project included the installation of a new pre-engineered ADA compliant Portland Loo restroom building. The building is constructed of a steel frame and stainless steel skin and is completely shop built including all plumbing and electrical fixtures and wiring,” the Bohicket Construction website said. “Additional scope of work consisted of the installation of all associated underground utilities, concrete building foundation, sidewalks, concrete paving, and plantation mix paving.”

We asked the City of Charleston if there were requests for bathrooms at that park, and whether they plan to install Portland Loos anywhere else in town.

A spokesperson said Councilman William Gregorie has pushed for a restroom at the park for more than ten years. For now, the single restroom was the only one planned.

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