Seattle city officials decided to pull the plug on the multimillion-dollar self-cleaning toilet stalls and instead put them on the auction site eBay with starting bids at $89,000 apiece. This action was taken as a result of reports given by neighbors and city-commissioned analysts that the unisex facilities attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms. The German-made automatic, high-tech toilets were installed in 2004 and have cost the city about $5 million. Each has handsfree washing and drying ability and an emergency button that automatically dials 911.
On May 19, a City Council vote to remove the problem toilets was cast. The automated doors on the impact- and graffiti-resistant toilets will close Aug. 1, said Andy Ryan, a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. The auction will last for 10 days, but as of Thursday morning, none of the toilets had received any bids.