How are those portable toilets going to hold out at the inauguration?

Portable toilets near the FDR Memorial in Washington D.C. on Jan. 19, 2009
Portable toilets near the FDR Memorial in Washington D.C. on Jan. 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — I’ve heard fears about the available public toilets at the grounds of the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Oh, portable toilets, our most unloved friend. I’m off to the National Mall now, far behind millions who may have gotten there when security opened this morning at four a.m. What’s going to happen when all of those folks have to go?

Who knows if we should much care about this, but strolling the Mall and parade route yesterday, the rows of portable toilets didn’t seem to match the masses I saw in Union Station and on the streets of D.C. in a way I have never seen before.

I included a figure on portable toilets reserved by the President Inaugural Committee in a story I wrote for, though it was cut in the final version. This is what I had:

While the inauguration committee isn’t releasing any estimates, guesses on how many people will crowd the nation’s capital have ranged wildly, from one million to more than three million. There are just 240,000 tickets for Obama’s swearing-in. Expecting crowds, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has reserved more than a dozen jumbo-trons to bring a video stream of the ceremony to the non-ticketed public on the National Mall and will have some 5,000 portable toilets on hand.

Those numbers may have swelled under pressure, but I’ve seen large numbers in strange locations, like near the under-trafficked Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which has a strange neighbor I’ve noted.

So will they last?

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