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Drug use and vandalism close WTA bathrooms at Cordata and Downtown Bellingham stations

Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) Downtown Bellingham Station (March 3, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News
Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) Downtown Bellingham Station (March 3, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Portable toilets are scheduled to arrive at the Whatcom Transportation Authority Downtown Bellingham Station today due to a decision to close the facility’s bathroom due to drug use and vandalism.

WTA spokesperson Maureen McCarthy told Whatcom News in an email they are closing the restroom at the Bellingham Station tomorrow, March 4th.

While a date has not been set yet, they plan to close the Cordata Station’s as well.

When asked what led to the decision to take this action, McCarthy said, “We started to see indications of drug use at the beginning of 2022, as well as some incidences of disruptive vandalism. Both increased, especially over the past six weeks.”

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We’ve had to shut the bathrooms for things like intentionally clogged toilets and other disruptive vandalism. Staff and riders have also experienced smoke and fumes in the restroom, as well as a smell that [WTA Safety Manager Jeff Benson] described as “burnt peanut butter and brake fluid.”

Whatcom Transportation Authority Spokesperson Maureen McCarthy (March 3, 2022)

After closing the bathrooms, they will be cleaned and aired out. As for when they will be reopened, McCarthy said they are considering implementing a security feature that would permit access only by permission.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience the temporary closure will cause to the many, many passengers (the great majority) who use the restrooms for their intended use,” McCarthy added.

Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) Cordata Station (March 3, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News
Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) Cordata Station (March 3, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News

6 Comments

  1. Kara Stuart March 3, 2022

    Because there is to many homeless addicts in this area. I know we have 3 homeless camps just right in a 6 block radius.

  2. Cynthia Bosch March 3, 2022

    I don’t think closing the restrooms is fair to the tax payers do you? I think it is better to create more restrictions. Such as security or passcode for those who purchase/receive bus passes and if those person’s abuse the privilege then they lose it. Bellingham really needs to invest in better ways of handling these kind of situations.

  3. Christopher J Wells March 3, 2022

    It is sad. Just on Thursday while walking towards dowtown on State street there were young people in front of the 22 North Building smoking Fentanyl tabs. WTA had better get a handle on this because next you will see people using drugs on the busses in Bellingham like they are in Seattle. It’s time for WTA to hire it’s own security force for the bathrooms and busses in needed areas. The police do not seem to care anymore.

  4. Cathy McKenzie March 4, 2022

    This is yet another example of implementing “politically correct” policy in reaction to a few bad apples rather than directly and effectively dealing with those few individuals who actually break the law. Whatever happened to personal responsibility and accountability? It’s past time to stop enabling and coddling lawbreakers, including making excuses and exceptions for repeat offenders such as drug addicts who refuse rehab/treatment and the mentally ill who decline therapy/medication!

  5. Mitzi Shpak March 5, 2022

    Not acceptable. Closing bathrooms does not remove my need to use them. I suppose I have no alternative but to urinate in the open. For Seniors, pregnant women and those with medical conditions this punishing the wrong people

  6. KG March 6, 2022

    What is to stop the drug use and vandalism from moving to the portable toilets?

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