Tracy Owen Station

Seattle-area parks generally offer abundant places to piss—old brick Tudor-style restrooms built during the Olmstead era or the WPA ’30s; pressed-concrete monstrosities that generally date to the cheapskate ’70s and ’80s. For users of the Burke-Gilman Trail, however, micturition options are few across the 30 miles between Golden Gardens Park near Ballard and Marymoor Park in Redmond. That’s why, on any given Saturday or Sunday, you’ll find a swarm of bikers at Tracy Owen Station (a.k.a Log Boom Park) on the north end of Lake Washington, where an unpleasant old restroom was recently razed, and a sleek, modernist rectangle by local firm Arai Jackson Ellison Murakami took its place this Memorial Day. Skylights, open clerestory windows, and wide entrances admit plenty of air and sun. The dark shingled shoebox design is crisp and efficient, occupying a much smaller footprint in what the city of Kenmore considers its “flagship park.” Replumbed, and relocated back from the shoreline, the new facility has a functional Bauhaus aspect: just a few stalls inside, plus water fountain outside to refill your bottles. There’s no more tip-toeing in your cleated bike shoes across a permanent puddle of pee. It’s a clean, well-lighted place where you might expect to see Hemingway, or Mies, at the urinal next to you. BRIAN MILLER

Wed., Sept. 16, 6 a.m.-11 p.m., 2009

 
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