City of Seattle Announces Deployment of Six 24/7 Hygiene Stations

Seattle  (April  15, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the deployment of six new hygiene stations. The new 24/7 access facilities are located at Victor Steinbrueck Park, Waterfront Park, 45th Avenue and I-5, St Vincent DePaul Food Bank, University Heights Center, and Bell Street Park. With the closures of community centers and libraries, these six facilities result in a total of 26 new portable toilets and 12 handwashing resources added in the past two weeks, addressing the urgent hygiene needs of the City’s most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“With the closure of public facilities and so many of our businesses, we’ve needed to add more hygiene resources to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and Hepatitis A,” said Mayor Durkan. “From the Navigation Team to our Parks employees staffing shelters and cleaning our facilities, our City workforce is continually working to serve the most vulnerable. In this challenging moment, we will continue to evaluate additional resources to address this public health emergency.”    

In addition to the hygiene stations, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) has opened more than 50 facilities that were closed for annual winterization in recent weeks. Understanding the urgent need to provide increased access to hygiene services, City staff across departments have worked to account for all resources available and accessible to our residents. In total, as of April 15, the City of Seattle is operating: 

  • 137 facility locations operated by SPR, within 107 distinct parks and community centers. At any given time, facilities or parks may be temporarily closed for construction, maintenance, vandalism, or cleaning. Of these facilities: 
    • Four community centers remain has open to the public with access to showers. The City has restrooms serving 21 of the 26 SPR community centers due to SPR adjacent facilities or outdoor access to community center restrooms. 
    • Within these facility locations, there are 112 bathrooms with toilets (or comfort stations), 78 single-user portable bathrooms (or sanicans), and three portable handwashing stations. In total, there are 190 facilities with toilets and an additional three portable handwashing stations. Portable restrooms (or sanicans) are available 24/7.  
    • Ten brick-and-mortar bathroom locations are also open 24/7.  
  • 12 24/7 hygiene stations operated by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) which include 26 portable bathrooms or sanicans and 12 handwashing sinks; 
  • 11 day centers with bathrooms (for clients); and  
  • Restrooms at City Hall and Seattle Center. 

While subject to change daily based on construction, maintenance, vandalism or cleaning, a comprehensive list of current resources with hours is available here.  

“Seattle Public Utilities recognizes hygiene as an essential need for our community, a need that’s more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mami Hara, General Manager of Seattle Public Utilities. “SPU thanks its many City partners, including Human Services Department, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Department of Neighborhoods, Department of Finance and Administrative Services and the Mayor’s Office, plus community advocates, that have all come together to make it easier for our most vulnerable neighbors to access the hygiene facilities they need.” 

“Providing public restroom facilities has always been a critical function of Seattle Parks and Recreation. Additionally, we have provided shower facilities to those in need for many years. These are essential services that our City must provide, and are now more important than ever as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.  

The City worked in partnership with REACH, a Human Services Department service provider, and Public Health – Seattle & King County to determine station placement in high-need locations where they would have the most impact. Hygiene stations will be accessible 24/7 and serviced daily, with waste removal, needle disposal, and supplemental cleaning.  

The City is also currently working with service providers to deploy two additional hygiene stations and two hygiene trailers with showers, toilets and sinks. 

To further supplement the sanitation needs of people living in unmanaged encampments, SPU has rapidly expanded the encampment trash pickup program beginning before the first COVID-19 case was reported in King County.  

The Navigation Team continues to conduct outreach to encampments distributing 1,663 hygiene kits, in addition to COVID-19 and Hepatitis A hygiene information. Since March, the Navigation Team has distributed more than 1400 COVID-19 and Hepatitis A flyers while also urging campers to get free Hep A vaccinations. The Navigation Team continues to coordinate with departments to clear waste, garbage and debris. The combined City efforts have removed more than 4,179 sharps and 123,400 pounds of trash from unmanaged encampments since early March. This represents an increase of 34,000 pounds removed from the public rights-of way since last week.