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Scaling Up

When I first conceived of the idea to place toilets along the Colorado River corridor, I learned there were 7 conventional port-a-toilets supported by grant funding, providing 24 hour toilet access to unsheltered people. Our original plan called for replacing those toilets before the grant funding expired to maintain

the current level of availability for users. If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know our plan has evolved – GJ City is funding the river corridor toilets while we work with private businesses to locate our toilets in high traffic areas so our toilet locations are as convenient as possible, just as those of us with

shelter desire in our homes.

With 2 toilets in the field, our workflow has been stable, but business is booming now. Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley has asked TE to place 4 toilets at the new Grand Junction Resource Center on Ute Avenue. Our toilets will provide much needed capacity to the Resource Center. We will place another toilet at the Homeward Bound facility on North Avenue, bringing our toilet total to seven.

Rapidly scaling up from two to seven toilets has kept me as busy as I was during my medical career. I and our volunteers purchased building materials on a Sunday morning and cut all the pieces for the toilets over the following week. Riverside Educational Center generously lent us warm and bright

warehouse space so we could lay the wood out and paint it all at once. Then we assembled two of the toilets at the Resource Center, one of which is ADA accessible with a wheelchair ramp. We still have three more toilets to place. Coordinating the buying, building, painting, and assembling of the toilets

with our volunteers, who are mostly students, has had its own scheduling challenges, especially during the holiday season, when they rightfully leave town to be with family. To fill that labor gap, our enthusiastic Board members have stepped in to help so we are able to keep going.

To address community members’ concerns, we seek the best building materials to manage the biohazard of human feces. We paint our interior surfaces with durable exterior quality enamel paint so we can clean those surfaces on our daily cleaning/maintenance rounds. Though this seems to be an effective surface treatment, we will be upgrading our toilets with smooth, nonabsorptive/impermeable surface materials.

In spite of the demands of these evolving construction methods, we are growing our mission to provide the most hygienic toilets we can to support human dignity and gender equity for community and environmental health.

Wishing all of you the best in the new year!


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