Ban sales of consumable liquids

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Here’s a great photo recently by the AP’s Rick Bowmer. It’s the latest chapter in the age old story of public bathrooms. Here’s the tagline that goes with the photo:

“A Portland Loo is shown Thursday, April 12, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The city of Portland has intensified its efforts to market its patented Portland Loo, a solar-powered, 24-hour–a-day outdoor public restroom developed to give urbanites relief while warding off junkies, prostitutes and graffiti artists. The city has sold one Loo to Victoria, British Columbia and hopes contracting with agents who get 10 percent of the sales will help it take in more cash.”

So, I checked in with the city of Minneapolis and a spokesman said he is not aware of any interest on their part in the Portland potty.

Restricting the intake of liquid is the obvious solution to address the problem encountered when we see the all too common sign, ‘Our restrooms are reserved for the use of our patrons’ posted on what seems like a growing number of restaurants and other establishments.

It’s an understandable reaction when you hear the accounts of my good friend who works behind the counter at a major downtown Minneapolis coffee retailer.

Folks treat the bathrooms as, well, bath rooms, changing rooms, personal grooming and hygiene rooms, among other uses.

Thus my friend’s coffee retailer has placed a coded lock box on the bathroom door, and you are given the code only if you purchase a product (I believe the cheapest coffee is about a buck) and ask to use the bathroom.

Which by the way reminds me of Nobel prize winner Minnesota native Peter Agre’s explanation of his aquaporin research which netted him the honor. A digression, but related.

Anyway, downtown business owners, building managers, retail and janitorial workers all have accounts of human behavior when nature calls. Let your imagination fill in the details.

More public bathrooms are the obvious but also expensive solution.

A spokesman for the city of Minneapolis says he knows of no plans in that direction.

Officials in Portland, Oregon, on the other hand, have forged ahead with their own solution.

The city is actually marketing the public bathroom to other municipalities.

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