The Anaheim City Council will consider the possibility of allowing the return of portable toilets for the use of homeless people living in encampments along the Santa Ana River bike trail.
An item on the council agenda for Tuesday, Aug. 29, would authorize city staff to issue a conditional permit to advocates who want to locate three portable toilets at the river bed south of Angel Stadium.
Back in May, advocates placed the toilets near the bike trail without permission. The city confiscated the portables and placed them in storage at a public yard for the owners to reclaim. They are still there.
Councilman Jose Moreno said he was contacted a few weeks ago by homeless advocates who seek to alleviate the lack of adequate toilet facilities for hundreds of homeless people living in tents and makeshift shelters from Chapman to Katella avenues along the river bed.
Moreno asked that the issue be placed before the council this week after directing the advocates to city staff about seeking a permit. He supports the idea of providing some type of restroom for homeless people along the bike trail.
“It’s simple human dignity,” Moreno said, noting that the alternative – relieving oneself in buckets or tossing out urine-filled plastic bottles along the trail – is unsanitary and “people are disgusted by that.”
The nonprofit group Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition bought the toilets secondhand and placed them at a spot by the bike trail that falls under county jurisdiction. The county was set to remove the toilets when homeless advocate Mohammed Aly relocated them to Anaheim city property near the firefighters training center at Orangewood Avenue and Rampart Street. They were removed shortly after.
The lack of adequate restroom facilities for homeless people at the river bed has been an ongoing issue. Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer pledged at a public meeting in May to write a check to cover a $2,000 permit that would be required if the portable toilets were allowed on county property.
There has been no support from the rest of the board for the portable toilets. But on Aug. 1, the county opened public restrooms along the…