Downtown to Gain Three Public Restrooms

The City of Columbus, in partnership with the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (SID), will commission the construction and maintenance of three public restrooms downtown to foster vibrancy and promote safety and cleanliness.


  • To keep downtown vibrant, safe, and clean, the City is investing in three public restrooms, an amenity that will serve everyone downtown, including residents, commuters, visitors, joggers, festivalgoers, and families.
  • Restrooms of the same variety have been deployed from Boston to San Francisco, and Columbus joins a list of nearly 100 North American cities offering these facilities to promote the safety and cleanliness of our downtown.
  • In addition to providing comfort and convenience, these public restrooms will benefit public health by mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.

Portland Loo model

  • The City and SID selected Portland Loo models for the three new downtown restrooms. These units were selected for their smart design features that promote cleanliness and deter crime:
    • The entire facility is constructed of stainless steel, and can be washed down with a hose within minutes
    • Lower and upper louvers offer privacy but also allow passers-by to see if the facility is occupied
    • An exterior hand wash station prevents lengthy usage
    • The interior has few fixtures to vandalize
  • High-need areas were identified based on usage of the temporary, portable restrooms currently in place downtown:
    • The NW corner of Long and High Streets
    • The SW corner of Lynn and High Streets
    • The NE corner of Broad and 3rd Streets
  • Portland Loos have been successfully operated in other cities including Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Austin, Seattle, and New York.

What’s next

  • The City has engaged the SID to manage the project. EMH&T is the project engineer. With approval from the Downtown Commission on July 26, 2022, the SID will be issuing a request for proposals to select the construction team.
  • The restrooms are scheduled to open by July 2023.
  • The City expects to contract with the SID to clean and maintain the facilities. These services will be funded by the City and other partners.
  • The restrooms will be cleaned three times daily, seven days a week, with occasional power-washings as needed. The cleaning schedule will be adjusted for variations in use according to season and during special events. Individual urgent cases will also be addressed.


  • The overall cost for the three downtown restroom is $1.26 million, which includes purchase of the three Portland Loos, installation, engineering, permitting and other costs.
  • A provisional budget of $69,000 annually has been identified for cleaning