All single-user restrooms in Portland city facilities now gender-neutral

Portland debuts all user restrooms (KATU News photo).jpg

The City of Portland has completed the conversion of more than 600 single-user restrooms to gender-neutral facilities.

Instead of traditional signs that show whether a restroom is for a man or woman, new signs that show a toilet with the words 'all-user restroom' have been installed.

"As of today in the city of Portland, you will no longer see a men's or women's single-user restroom in a city facility," said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning. "The new signs you see represent what's behind the door - a toilet - and not who's allowed to use the restroom."

The Portland City Council approved the plan last year.

"I think it says that we're ahead of the curve," said Kit Crosland of Portland's TransActive Gender Center. "We're here to suppor all of our citizens in whatever way we can. We're hoping this will encourage private establishments to convert their restrooms too."

City leaders say the policy was developed with the help of many community partners and isn't designed to only benefit the transgender community.

"If you're a person with disabilities or you're older and you need the help of someone else to use the bathroom, having full access to a bathroom is absolutely essential for you," said Bob Joondeph, executive director of Disability Rights Oregon. "That person who's helping you might be somebody who's a family member, it might be an attendant and they might not be the same gender as you are."

The conversion has taken place only in restrooms at city-owned or operated facilities. Restrooms in which there are multiple stalls, toilets, or urinals are still gender-specific. However, the city has begun a pilot project on the second floor multi-stall restrooms of the Portland Building. Those restrooms have been converted to Portland's first all-user multi-occupant restroom.