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What happened to those coin-operated, automatic toilets that Seattle installed and then removed? Are they in use in another city?

David

Bellevue

Yes they are, David. Actually, they were free to the public.Butbefore we tell you where they ended up, here'sa little history lesson for those new to this story.

They were supposed to be a nice, clean place for visitors and the homeless to do their business. But Seattle's five automated, self-cleaning toilets became a haven for drug deals, drug and alcohol use and prostitution.

The experiment started in 2004 for $5 million. It ended in 2008 with an online auction to get rid of them. The city put a minimum bid of $89,000 each on eBay.

No one stepped up to the plate. The city revised its strategy in hopes of sparking a bidding free-for-all.

Unfortunately for the city, one of the toilets sold for $4,899. The others went for much less. The average selling price for all of the toilets was about $2,510 each.

Rochester, Wash.-based Racecar Supply bought all five toilets. At the time, owner Butch Behn said he planned to use two of the units at the South Sound Speedway in Rochester and sell the other three. But Behntells us now thathe hasn't sold any of them.

In the end, the $5 million investment netted about a $10,000 return for the City of Seattle afterthecompany that held theauctiontook its cut.

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