Resolution proposes unisex bathrooms for city

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish has introduced resolution

Multnomah County ordered gender-neutral bathrooms for any new county-owned building, June 11, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
A gender neutral bathroom in a Multnomah County building. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish wants to convert single-user, gender specific restrooms into gender neutral bathrooms.

“The idea is if you come to a publicly owned building, everybody should feel welcomed,” Fish tells KOIN.

The resolution he’s introduced is intended to benefit personal attendants, parents with children and transgendered individuals.

“It’s about access and equity. We want the city to be a welcoming place,” Fish says.

Multnomah County in 2013 signed an executive order for a similar resolution. Since then, the county has converted 141 bathrooms into non-gender specific restrooms.

44 buildings that are either leased or owned by Multnomah County have gender neutral bathrooms that are open to the public.

“It’s such a small step in some ways but it makes such a big difference to peoples lives,” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury tells KOIN.

Cities like Seattle, DC, Austin and Philadelphia have similar policies. In DC, it expands to include all private bathrooms, like ones in hotels and restaurants.

“I think slowly but surely as a country we are coming to realize that not everybody is the same and instead of trying to put everyone into little baskets we should really embrace and celebrate our diversity,” Kafoury says.

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