There has been an ongoing community discussion about public showers and bathrooms for Eastsound. Between the number of visitors who arrive by bicycle, boat, or in a private plane, and the number of community members living in substandard shelter, the need for accessible hygiene facilities continues to grow. Unfortunately, we just can not seem to figure out a plan.

When the Library expansion was in the planning stage, there was a good deal of consideration towards adding a shower to the bathrooms, as the staff recognized that many folks used their facility to ‘clean up’ on a daily basis. In the end, the Library Board opted not to add one as they felt it was beyond their scope.

Orcas has two public bathrooms at the Village Green. The County plans to add an additional five stalls funded by lodging tax revenue in the coming year, but they are not currently inclined to add a shower. The Green is already too busy in their opinion.

The Port of Orcas is currently building a shower and bathroom near the airplane hangars. The Port manager is determined to limit the use of that facility to visiting pilots (who camp by their planes) and hanger owners citing safety issues with public access.

It is a ‘sticky’ issue (pun intended). Public facilities are a bit of a headache. However, access to hygiene facilities is one of the basics for a healthy community and we strive to be just that. Both Lopez and Friday Harbor have coin operated showers available. On Lopez, the County takes care of the facility, while the Port cares for the ones in Friday Harbor. I don’t know what the right answer is for Orcas, but I do know we need to figure it out. If you have an idea, please let me know.

I am heading off for a big adventure in Ireland. I will be back on Orcas on Aug 19. I look forward to sharing some great travel stories upon my return.