Photo by Zachariah Bryan
As of Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Honey Bucket will no longer be at Ballard Commons Park.

Say goodbye to Ballard Commons Honey Bucket

Ballard has spoken: the portable toilet at Ballard Commons Park will be removed, according to a press release sent out by the Seattle Human Services Department.

As of Tuesday, December 4, the toilet will be no more.

It had been placed in the park on a trial basis since June, 5. In a survey conducted on SurveyMonkey, 53 percent of 332 respondents said they did not want the toilet in the park; 38 percent said they would like it to remain; and 9 percent were unsure. More than 90 percent of respondents were residents of Ballard.

Perhaps the no. 1 complaint people had was that the toilet was an "eyesore" and that it attracted people who were homeless to the park. Others were concerned that the bathroom offered a place where people could do drugs or engage in intercourse.

"I find it to be an eyesore," said one respondent

"The park is already a magnet for homeless people who loiter and sleep there. Adding toilets increases this, and detracts from the intended purpose of the park," said another.

Supporters in favor of the toilet argued that there were few public restrooms in Ballard and that the Honey Bucket provided an essential service. though the Ballard Branch Library, across the street from the park, has a restroom open to the public, it does not provide 24-hour service like the Honey Bucket did.

"If not the Honey Bucket, it will be a bush nearby!"

"The portable toilet can help maintain reasonable sanitation and safety in the area. It is a humane solution on a shoestring budget."

Some supporters argue that the Honey Bucket was too temporary of a solution and that a permanent facility should be built, perhaps with it's own attendant to help discourage drug use or other criminal activities in the restroom. However, it's a solution that would cost money.

"If the park needs restrooms... build a restroom. Portable toilets are for temporary endeavors, the park is going to be there forever."

"Ultimately I would like to see permanent toilets there."

According to the press release, HSD will seek a private location for a public portable toilet.

If HSD does not find a location, Seattle Parks and Recreation will allow the toilet to return to the park next summer for three months. It will stay in the park for those months so long as the following conditions are met: more frequent cleaning of the toilet and surrounding area, other measures to provide needed services to homeless people, and addressing illegal activity and public safety in the park.

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