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River gets new ‘Portland loo’ public restroom

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The unveiling of a second public restroom along the Truckee River was held Thursday morning. The new “Portland Loo” aims to reduce waste getting into the river. 

About 20 people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony, including One Truckee River Executive Director Iris Jehle-Peppard and three city council members – Jenny Brekhus, Naomi Duerr and Miguel Martinez. 

The event followed the installation of the first public restroom facility in Aug. 2020 at Brodhead Memorial Park. 

“It’s been a long process, but it’s a bigger project than just one bathroom,” Jehle-Peppard said. “So in 2020 we were able to install a Portland Loo at Brodhead Park, and then here we are today… One is scheduled for City Plaza in spring of 2024.

“Our larger vision is to increase public restrooms by nine,” she added.

The idea for a public restroom along the Truckee River isn’t new and has taken a lot of local partnerships to finally be realized.

“It’s a public facility that everybody uses, and it’s very critical because if people don’t have places to go and you’re along the river … it’s really important because whatever we put in the water we need to take out,” Jehle-Peppard said.

The concept of the “Portland Loo” was actually patented by the city of Portland after it couldn’t find a public restroom design that worked for their city. The city came up with Loo, which is grated on the top and bottom, and it locks automatically at night. 

When asked about how the restrooms will be taken care of and how they operate, Jehle-Peppard responded with the following: 

“Actually they’re open at 6:00 a.m. This one is going to close at 7:30 p.m., and … we partner with Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality (RISE). They work to communicate to build respect for the restrooms, and then they clean them right before they close so we ensure that nobody sneaks in there at the last minute and uses it as a shelter for the evening.”    

The restroom offers hand sanitizer on the inside as well as a “sharp objects” disposal that is intended to keep any kind of needles out of the Truckee River. 

On the outside of the restroom is a hand-washing station, which can be used if the restroom is occupied. 

The "Portland Loo" at John Champion Park. Image: Mark Hernandez / This Is Reno.
The “Portland Loo” at John Champion Park. Image: Mark Hernandez / This Is Reno.
Mark Hernandez
Mark Hernandez
Mark was born in Mexico, grew up in Carson City, and has recently returned to Reno to continue to explore and get to know the city again. He got his journalism degree in 2018 and wants to continue learning photography for both business and pleasure. Languages and history are topics he likes to discuss as well as deplete any coffee reservoirs in close proximity.

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