6 portable restrooms for homeless in downtown San Diego suddenly removed

Home, business owners glad to see restrooms go

SAN DIEGO - It is being called a serious public health hazard and bad for businesses near Petco Park.

Six portable restrooms for the homeless in downtown San Diego have been suddenly removed and hundreds of homeless people are resorting to using patches of grass and going in front of homes and businesses.

A stroke of bad luck sent Raphael Rosario to live on the streets a few months ago.

"I have a swollen prostate so I have to go to the bathroom every 15 or 20 minutes and these bathrooms are so important," he said.

He and others were grateful for the two portable restrooms on 17th Street and Island Avenue in downtown San Diego.

Grace Simms said, "It was a godsend. It was a blessing."

But recently, the company that donated six of them to the city had to haul them away.

Homeless advocate David Ross, who is better known as "Waterman" around town, said there is no place for the homeless to use a restroom.

"So they'll go behind the building and behind the cars and behind the bushes," he said.

Ross has been lobbying the mayor and City Council to provide some kind of restroom for the homeless for years. He was hoping the portable bathrooms would be around until the city built permanent restrooms in 2014.

"It's a health hazard with blood and defecation which creates HIV and AIDS and the city is liable," he said.

However, home and business owners are glad to see the portable bathrooms go. Bobby Ruiz owns a business at 17th and Island.

"It attracts the wrong people, prostitution, drug use, congregation of the homeless, filth," Ruiz said.

Ross plans to address the issue of restrooms for the homeless at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

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