News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Scio nearing completion of public restrooms

The City of Scio is nearing installation of its first public restroom facility, following years of delays due to disasters, regulatory hurdles and construction sector upheaval.

On Jan. 22 the Scio City Council awarded a contract for development and engineering of the project to RJ Armstrong and Associates Construction Inc. for $108,413.

The work is expected to be completed by mid-May, after which the city will approve final installation of a prefabricated restroom built last year by Blazer Industries.

City Manager Ginger Allen has said the restrooms will benefit both locals and visitors, particularly the many bicyclists who stop in Scio during the spring and summer.

This comes six years after the council approved the project in 2018 amid a larger slate of public improvements including a new City Hall building and public works shop.

In early 2020 the City Council voted to pursue roughly $3 million in funding for these projects, but the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 wildfires scuttled development. By the time progress resumed construction costs had ballooned.

The Public Works shop was completed in 2023 at a cost of $1.57 million–more than double original estimates. Similar cost constraints led the Council to pursue renovation over to replacing City Hall, and they’re expected to receive a presentation on anticipated designs and costs during their Feb. 12 meeting.

The restroom was originally expected to cost about $150,000 and current estimates place final project expenses at $348,770. Scio has secured $235,000 through pandemic relief funds and will need to pay the remaining $101,592 out of city coffers or another funding source.

Allen said costs may potentially come in lower than projected because some work that is already finished has been less expensive than expected.

Expenses for the restroom rose not only from construction sector inflation but also unexpected setbacks during development.

Allen said an initial bid request for a traditional stick-build facility received no responses and the city chose to pursue a prefabricated option, and began working with Blazer in 2022. Then they learned the site they had selected on N. Main St. would not be large enough and the project was relocated to the City Hall property, which required additional design and engineering.

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