Seattle hopes to put public toilets on eBay

Seattle hopes to put public toilets on eBay
SEATTLE (AP) - Seattle's five problem-plagued public toilets may show up on eBay soon.

City officials have decided to pull the plug on the multimillion-dollar self-cleaning toilet stalls.

Neighbors and city-commissioned analysts say the unisex facilities attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms.

On May 19, the City Council voted 5-0 to remove the problem toilets. Four council members were not present. Council President Richard Conlin said although people were using the high-tech, self-cleaning silver stalls, they also fostered illegal behavior, such as prostitution and drug use.

Since the automatic, high-tech toilets were installed in 2004, the city has spent about $5 million on them.

In May, the City Council directed utility officials to can the city`s contract for the single-stall restrooms as soon as possible, rather than waiting until January, as Seattle Public Utilities had initially recommended.

At the time, Seattle Public Utilities said the automated doors on the toilets would close for the last time July 1. But that date has been tentatively pushed back to Aug. 1, said Andy Ryan, a spokesman for the utility.

Ryan said officials expected to post the toilets on eBay, the auction Internet site, soon, possibly next week.

Ryan said he did not know the details of the upcoming auction, such as whether city officials would establish a minimum price. He declined to discuss the matter further until plans are finalized.

He said the city must hold a public meeting before selling the stalls. The date and time of that meeting are not yet known, he said.

The toilets are at Victor Steinbrueck Park near Pike Place Market, on Pier 58 at Waterfront Park, in Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, in Hing Hay Park in the International District and on Broadway on Capitol Hill.