Removal of portable bathrooms in downtown San Diego leading to mess

Advocate says homeless squatting at Petco Park

SAN DIEGO - It's an unsanitary problem that could dirty the image of San Diego, and 10News has learned it's getting worse.

In April, 10News was the first report about six portable bathrooms removed from downtown San Diego.

Along 17th Street, Hurley Mills, who is homeless, gave 10News reporter Michael Chen a tour of sorts, pointing out where on this street he relieves himself.

"This tree, this tree, that one and that pole," he pointed out in a span of 10 seconds.

Connie Brown, who has been homeless for three months, has followed a similar routine.

"It's a very humbling, very humbling experience. It's very degrading," said Mills.

For the last three weeks, four portable bathrooms in the East Village have been taken out.    

Homeless advocate David Ross first put them in more than five years ago, using his Social Security money.

Several years ago, a private company agreed to temporarily pay for the toilets, but in April, those toilets were taken out.

Since then, because there are few public bathrooms, a messy problem has grown -- quickly.

"I'm trying control my frustration; it's a health crisis," said Ross.  

Combined, the six bathrooms including the one on Island Avenue were used 1,000 times a day. Ross said he believes most of that is now ending up on the streets.

Ross told 10News the homeless are now squatting near Petco Park.

"So people are now defecating and urinating on streets where there's million-dollar condos," said Ross.

Ross said while most homeless simply have no choice, some are now doing it out of spite.

The city's plan to install bathrooms has been delayed until at least next year.

"Now, unfortunately, because there's so much anger and frustration, they are blatantly doing it because there's nowhere to go," said Ross.

In a statement, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria said:

"Our homeless neighbors face many challenges, including the lack of public restrooms throughout the City. I supported the allocation of $400,000 to add two new public restrooms to Downtown and continue to work on addressing the remaining hurdles to ensure their long term viability."

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