ANAHEIM — The city has removed three portable toilets activists placed along the Santa Ana River trail for homeless living nearby to use.
Anaheim Public Works employees and a contractor picked up the outhouses early Friday morning, May 19, cleaned them and moved them into a city storage facility, said Mike Lyster, Anaheim spokesman.
“We appreciate the good intentions of the owner and share their concern for those staying along the riverbed,” Lyster said. “But this is a potential health hazard.”
When contacted around noon on Friday, Mohammed Aly, whose organization placed the portable toilets, said he had only found out they were removed through friends who live around there. The group brought the toilets in on Saturday, May 13
“I have yet to contact the city, but I plan to later,” said Aly, a lawyer and founder of the Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition, which assists the people who live along the riverbed. He declined further comment.
Lyster said Aly can pick up the plastic outhouses free of charge.
The city’s move comes after nearly a week of back and forth between Aly and city and county officials about the placement of the outhouses.
Hundreds of homeless people have taken refuge along the riverbed, setting up camping tents or making shelters out of tarps and other materials. With no common place to use the bathroom, many use plastic gallon buckets to relieve themselves or, if they have some money, they walk to the nearby fast food restaurants on Chapman Avenue.
For a year, homeless advocates have pressed city and county officials to place temporary restrooms along the riverbed or open nearby park bathrooms at night.
Lyster said city officials contacted Aly about the outhouses earlier this week and warned him they would be removed if he did not have a contract with a company to flush out the waste, insurance and a permit or lease agreement with the city to operate the restrooms. As of Friday, Lyster said the city had not…