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!