December 21, 2017
This morning, we marked the successful completion of the City’s All-User Restroom Challenge.
Nick joined community partners and local businesses at a celebration hosted by OHSU.
His remarks are below.
Thank you all for joining us this morning here at OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing.
Before we start, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the doctors, nurses, and staff here at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute for their excellent treatment as I battle cancer.
We’re here today to officially celebrate the completion of the All-User Restroom Challenge.
I’m very proud to be joined this morning by our hosts from OHSU, and our community partners:
In April of this year, I issued a challenge to the business community: step up and do your part to help remove arbitrary barriers in our community by converting your single-stall, gender-specific restrooms to All-User.
As we all know by now, when you remove arbitrary barriers in our community, everyone wins: parents with a young child, an older adult or a disabled person with an attendant, transgender individuals, and anyone who simply doesn’t want to wait in a long line.
It’s why we changed the signs on over 600 single-stall restrooms in City facilities.
And it’s why we issued a challenge to our business community, rather than a mandate. We believed all along that our publicly spirited businesses didn’t need a mandate to do the right thing.
And we were right!
Businesses and buildings in every neighborhood and of every size took the challenge and changed the signs on their single-stall restrooms. We heard from small businesses in Multnomah Village and Foster Blvd who converted one or two individual restrooms, as well as our bigger partners like OHSU, New Seasons, and Powell’s who converted all of their gender-specific single-stall restrooms.
Today, when you visit OHSU, Powells, Red Castle Games, the No Bones Beach Club, The Circus Project, New Seasons, Le Pigeon, Street Roots, Mississippi Studios, or one of the hundreds of businesses or buildings that took the challenge, you’ll now find fewer barriers and more options.
This seems like such a basic idea. Change the sign on your restroom, and focus on what’s behind the door - a toilet - and not who gets to use it.
So today, we’re declaring victory in our challenge.
But we’re taking a bit of a leap of faith. We learned that changing a sign on a bathroom door is easy, but submitting a photo of your new sign was a bit of a pain. We’re constantly hearing from people who said they converted their restrooms, but we haven’t always been able to document it.
So, in the spirit of the holiday season, thank you to all the businesses who helped make this challenge a success.
This challenge wasn’t about me, or local government. And it wasn’t about any individual businesses. It’s about creating a community that we’re proud of. It’s about eliminating arbitrary barriers and increasing choices. It’s about doing the right thing.
Thank you all for coming out this morning, and thank you to everyone who has been involved in this process, from community partners who helped us craft the policy that the City adopted, to business owners that converted their restrooms.
On December 17, 2015, Commissioner Fish introduced Resolution #37175, which affirmed the City’s commitment to “removing barriers to a safe and inclusive workplace for employees, to creating spaces which are welcoming to all visitors, and to treating all people with respect and dignity.” It was approved unanimously by City Council.
On June 1, 2016, Council adopted the new policy which applies to “City-controlled” buildings – those that are both owned and occupied by the City.
On September 23, 2016, Commissioners Fish and Amanda Fritz celebrated the successful conversion of 600 single-stall restrooms in City facilities.
On April 4, 2017, Commissioner Fish challenged the Portland business community to do better than the City and convert 1,000 single-stall restrooms.