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a Hygiene Working Group was one of the top priority directions identified at the June 25 Forum, as described in item #3 of the post-event wrapup post here: https://groups.io/g/pdxshelterforum/message/10
With this conversation we could say it is now in action -- subproject to examine current hygiene needs & responses, help and develop them or perhaps new ones. Thanks for suggestions, everyone, and let's keep in mind we're here to surface and share ideas, we shouldn't feel like we have to be already expert-level informed or have complete solutions, for it to be constructive discussion.
Despite the thread subject line, I'd ask: need this be only for 'those in tents'? perhaps they could be, for anyone in public, run as a revenue-making service by houseless caretakers. Public toilets are a general need, just like housing is a general need, and I'm in favor of approaches that assume we're all in the same boat and make use of that equation. What if we conceived some kind of 2.0 version of the Portland Loo
, designed for agile street-community deployment & maintenance? [also, why need the unhoused be in tents? Let's get/build better, safer dwelling setups].
Also, could they be composting
, or exploring/demonstrating something other than our standard, biohazardous & industrialized sewage-pumpout method? There is loads of work going on globally, and keen interesting locally/regionally, to develop new more sustainable & efficient ways to do facilities like this. Q #1
: can anyone with leads/contacts at Downtown Neighborhood Association, City, etc try to find out for us what is this recent funding of 50 additional outhouses? Who's been funded, is it a budget allocation or a contract, what stipulations are on it as to how it's done? This seems like the current boat in the water, let's see if/how it might be steered.Meanwhile, significant existing community-driven efforts include:
project led by Sandra Comstock (Sandra@...
, Bcc-ed here), as mentioned by Barb.
This aims to create a prototype 2-toilet, houseless-designed & -run hygiene facility in the Central Eastside. h4apdx.org
2) Cascadia Clusters
, led by Andy Olshin who presented at the Forum and proposed there this as near-term focus.
They are currently focusing on ShowerPod units, solar/propane powered, including one currently deployed at times in Old Town as Andy's picture on other thread shows.
ANDY any ideas/plans for toilet/outhouse structures?
I imagine it's been suggested or discussed.
Personally, mobile bathrooms designed/build/run like CC does seem WAY more appealing and appropriate than Port-a-Potties, everything about which signals emergency/temporary / non-housed / outcasting. I'd rather we avoided things we can't imagine a Commissioner / senior official / leader putting in their own back yard or vacation property.
I don't think we are reinventing anything or even inventing anything. We are saying more safe, clean, sanitary options need to be made available and funding needs to be allocated for this.Camping on the sidewalks is literally doing nothing for no one.
I believe those that are unsheltered should be involved, espicially doing camp oversight , management, helping to find sites, and moving people to safe sanitary locations.
I also believe that just because a person does not have lived experience, does not mean they cannot help. A wise doctor once told me that you don't have to have the problem in order to know how to cure it.
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-------- Original message --------
Date: 7/26/20 2:52 PM (GMT-08:00)
Subject: Re: [pdxshelterforum] Outhouses for those in tents
Have you looked at the shower and toilet facilities at Harbor of Hope? Have you checked in with H4A ( HYGIENE for all)?
I love your goals, but without people with lived experience ( living outside, not only providers) it's hard for the housed to even imagine being houseless.
It looks like too much reinventing the wheel. What type of toilets is the city ordering 50 of?? Where are they being located?
I'd happily follow this up if need be.
Thanks for all the work you all are putting into this.
I think Houseless First has a great idea. It will make the process of locating land for the toilets more complex, since it will be harder to establish a larger piece of land to include campers than simply a place for a toilet and washing station. But the idea of charging the campers with some level of maintenance or simply protection of the toilet makes sense ( I like the idea of Caretaker, suggested by Houseless first.). The campers will need to create a safe environment where people from the larger community will be comfortable using the toilets. The more we can empower camps to operate like communities with self governance and perhaps pay to some members for services to the community, the healthier our campsites will be. Unlike many of you I have little experience visiting with campsites and talking to campers (and I respect this experience), but I do have 70 years of experience working with people. And people are people, wherever they live.
One more thought…In the 3 sanctioned Covid campsites the city set up, the porta-potties are all inside the fenced area of the campsite. It seems that this would not be conducive to outsiders using the toilets (or would it be?) Could the toilets be located just outside the camp, with campers responsible for its protection? It seems to me that campers/caretakers could provide some daily maintenance, but the periodic flushing and cleaning would certainly be done by a contractor. And as long as the porta potties are probably going to get “marked”, how about commissioning a camper or two to do murals on the ports potty? As Houseless First said, “A guy can dream, right."
well toilets are nice, but open-to-all toilets left in public places are almost never adequately maintained or feel safe/comfortable for most people to use.
Howww about the city, to safeguard and maximize this investment in (I imagine) Port-a-Potties, allow a VILLAGE around each one, to take care of it? Like, some safe space where a few lucky houseless could huddle and self-shelter with a temporary reprieve from threats of sweeps and ticketing and the demolishing/disposal of their homes. For me that'd be like, awesome, spectacular, a ticket to freedom with merely maintenance of an open-pit toilet as the fee.
Perhaps if part of the toilets contract were diverted to them because of how much less external maintenance might be needed, the caretakers might even eat, or afford bedding.
Perhaps it could be called something palatable like say, a Local Community Partnership Caretakers Site, to avoid anything terrifying like "Village" or "shelter"?
idk. A guy can dream, plenty of time for that out on the streets while waiting for the crumbs to fall from city council.
A member of the Downtown Neighborhood Association board told me the city has allocated funding for 50 additional outhouses. She and I had been talking about trying to find one for the 50+/- campers near SW Main/SW 13th. Nice to have 50 on the way. I've no idea how they will be allocated. Squeaky wheel is a standard practice from what I've seen.