GRANTS PASS – City of Grants Pass public restrooms continue to be the target of vandals and vagrants who consistently misuse and damage the facilities on a regular basis, said former Community Development Director Lora Glover.
At their workshop Monday, Aug. 31, Glover, who is under contract with the city to provide services during the transition of the department to new Community Development Director Bradley Clark, told the city council that the problem of vandalism of city restrooms costs the city as much as $120,000 per year in repairs, replacements, and maintenance.
“We do deal with a variety of misuse and vandalism,” said Glover, who outlined a list of issues discovered at public restroom facilities, including illicit drug use, sexual activity, graffiti, and broken fixtures.
Restrooms at several city parks have had operating hours changed and been intermittently closed in efforts to mitigate the vandalism and illegal activities.
The restrooms at the city’s downtown Welcome Center have become a danger to employees of the center and members of the public, said Glover.
Welcome Center staff have discovered used adult diapers on the floor, toilets covered in blood and feces, people bathing and doing laundry in the sinks and toilets, drug paraphernalia, and people who have barricaded themselves into the stalls, she said.
“This situation has left the restrooms unusable to staff and other customers,” Glover said.
For the sake of employee and public safety, Glover made the decision to close the Welcome Center restrooms while the city seeks a solution to the issues. Portable restrooms have been installed in the Welcome Center parking lot, along with a portable hand sanitizing station to serve in the interim.
A review of a recent Performance Audit, Visioning and Enhancement (PAVE) Committee report on the city’s Property Management Division has resulted in the transfer of that division from Community Development to Public Works. That transition is still in the final phases of completion.
The bathrooms at the Welcome Center fall under Property Management. In coordination with the city’s Information Technology Department, Property Management is working on the development of an electronic entry solution to the bathrooms. Being considered are a card-swipe entry system, and/or keypad entry system.
Once the proper system is decided upon, a contractor will be hired to install the system. Once the system is installed, there will be a process by which businesses in the Central Business District will be provided with access information for the Welcome Center bathrooms, said Glover.
Businesses and Welcome Center employees will then be able to provide customers and visitors with approved access to the restrooms.