by Travis Mateer
Seven years ago I’m sure I scoffed at the million dollar art park featuring a special toilet called the “Portland Loo”. Well, last weekend, with pressure building, and a strong desire NOT to enter a downtown bar, I utilized the Portland Loo and found that it really did provide a FANTASTIC urination experience!
Estimated at roughly $1 million, the Art Park will transform Pine Street between the museum and Adventure Cycling into something of an outdoor plaza, complete with seating, flower beds, trees and a collection of sculptures.
“The mayor’s Downtown Advisory Council had identified the need for a public restroom on the north end of downtown,” Millin said, waiting for the loo to arrive. “They looked at other cities and what’s out there before landing on Portland Loo.”
Madden Fabrication bills the loo as a “unique solution to a universal problem.” Manufactured in Portland, the units are easy to maintain, resistant to vandals and well ventilated, hence the collection of louvers lining the top and bottom of the walls.
I really wanted to share this amazing urination experience with City Council, since they don’t usually hear POSITIVE things from me, but my enjoyment of the Portland Loo was quickly eclipsed by the money and staff time it takes to maintain the stupid rainbow crosswalk at the million dollar art park.
If you think installing a rainbow crosswalk is a one-and-done affair, think again. These strips of color apparently fade and need replacing. Here is an image of the FIVE people working on this important virtue-signaling project:
And here is the result of their work at a cost I can only imagine comes in around five figures.
This crosswalk, and the cost to maintain its colors, should be offensive to the first responders beginning the annual ritual of begging for more money in a rapidly growing community with a general fund hobbled by Tax Increment Financing. Here is an article about first responders asking for more money during a committee meeting where I also provided public comment, which I included in yesterday’s post. From the first link (emphasis mine):
Extended financial resources for Missoula’s Mobile Support Team and Crisis Intervention Team was a leading topic during a City Council budget committee meeting on Wednesday.
Missoula’s first-responder agencies outlined priorities going into the 2024 fiscal year for city council members. Chiefs from both Missoula’s fire and police departments discussed the future of the MST and CIT, since funding for both programs is running out.
“What is front and center right now and a priority is to find sustainable funding for the Mobile Support Team, as the crisis service levy failure from last fall is staring us in the face to provide adequate funding and progress that resource,” Missoula Fire Chief Gordy Hughes said to the council.
It appears to me that the failure of the crisis mill levy was so fiscally and psychologically damaging to our elected leaders (and their first responder budget hostages) that they are incapable of the creative, truly collaborative actions needed to address what we’re seeing in our community with this drug epidemic.
I continued my public comment campaign on Thursday at the Police Commission meeting, which you can hear a portion of here. The video didn’t apparently work, and the recording only captured a part of my comment, so I’m not going to waste the time to record and play it here. I will say that the specificity of my publicly-stated concerns at the Police Commission is by design, since it’s mostly CITY police who have to deal with the “frequent fliers” our jail, judges and public lawyers are systematically ignoring.
Well, thanks to my public comment campaign (which will continue today), ignoring reality is becoming MUCH MORE difficult for our elected leaders, who do have LOTS of things going on to pay attention to.
Since it looks to be a nice day, maybe I’ll take it easy on OUR MISSOULA COMMUNITY ADVISORY GROUP and limit my commentary to the pleasant urination experience I had last weekend during my late-night walk downtown. I’ll tell them how I mused, while watching my golden stream of pee disappear down the stainless-steel loo, that we are all humans (I think) with the same basic needs, and everyone needs to hear some encouragement from time to time.
If you would like to show me some encouragement in the form of MONEY, then consider supporting Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF), or making a donation at my about page. I really appreciate the recent donations that have come in, it’s a tremendous help.
Thanks for reading!
Kc Greenly, center, places a red color panel as Seth Haagan, left, Jerry, right, and other workers help with the reconstruction of Missoula’s downtown rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of East Pine Street and North Pattee Street on Wednesday. The group of contractors said they were hired by a private group not affiliated with the city to remodel the colorful crosswalk after numerous years of wear and tear. The workers said the private group gathers funds to reconstruct the crosswalk every three years.
ANTONIO IBARRA OLIVARES, Missoulian
Thank you for the additional context, CT.
“…the “frequent fliers” our jail, judges and public lawyers are systematically ignoring.”
WHEN are you going to (1) get a handle on how this sausage machine works; (2) give us your opinion on EXACTLY WHAT you want and expect “our jail, judges and public lawyers” to do about “frequent flyers?”:
Do you have any suggestions that are constitutional?
If you want to remedy what I agree is a systemic problem (but not due to “jail, judges and public lawyers systematically ignoring” it), you’ll have to spend a lot more public money.
So, let’s say, purely as a thought experiment, that in a prior life you were a street alcoholic with resulting Korsakoff’s Syndrome and, consequently, an erroneous, psychotic perception of reality. Let’s say this caused you to skip around town with a garbage can lid in one hand as a shield, recklessly waving in peoples’ faces a decorative but dangerous sword with the other hand, while incessently yelling “Rubber roads lead nowhere!” and “This is your drain on bugs!” at passers-by.
On a few occasions, you are pinched for disorderly conduct and twice you’re sentenced to 60 days jail when you plead guilty against your appointed counsel’s advice, but each time are released after five to ten days, due to jail overcrowding (contributed to greatly by the months of backlog on evaluation and treatment of defendants with evident mental disorders, who are warehoused in the jail for months awaiting their turn). Each time you are released, you end up disturbing the peace and alarming residents, and the cycle repeats on until a jail bed opens and you join the mass of defendants locked up up for months awaiting mental evaluation after your new public defender, on your latest discon charge, files a motion averring that you are, due to a mental disorder, unable to aid and assist in your own defense and lack both a rational and factual understanding of the charge against you.
What, precisely, should a judge, the Sheriff (in charge of the jail), and your appointed defense counsel do? Keep in mind that your lawyer’s job is to protect your rights as well as working for the least onerous disposition.