City News - Current

Posted on: May 19, 2017

Update: portable toilets placed near riverbed picked up, stored

Near North Net May 19 2017 for web

ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 19, 2017) — Three portable toilets placed near the Santa Ana River without a plan for servicing were picked up and stored by the city on Friday morning.

A city contractor overseen by Anaheim Public Works picked up the portable toilets, which now are being stored at a city facility for the owner to reclaim.

The move comes after a 24-hour removal notice was posted on the toilets on Tuesday. Out of good will, the city allowed them to remain more than two additional days to afford the owner time to make arrangements with the city, the county of Orange or a private property owner.

“We appreciate the good intentions and share their concern for those staying along the riverbed,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said. “Because of that, we went above and beyond to see if this could be done the right way.”

As of Friday, the city has not seen any indication of a permit, insurance or plan for ongoing service for the toilets.

“The rules for these facilities are designed to protect everyone,” Lyster said. “With no demonstrated plan for ongoing service, these toilets can actually end up being counterproductive by harming those they are intended to help.”

The city is always open to talking with anyone about constructive ways to address homelessness in and around Anaheim. The city has a comprehensive effort under way to address homelessness and welcomes anyone seriously interested in helping to work with our Anaheim Homeless Collaborative.

Led by the city, the Anaheim Homeless Collaborative is a group of more than 100 nonprofits, religious groups and others focused on coordinated and impactful ways to break the cycle of homelessness.

“We don’t believe that anyone should have to live in the riverbed, and bathrooms are part of a larger, more complex issue,” Lyster said. “Our focus at the city of Anaheim is on addressing the larger issue of homelessness.”

Since January 2014, Anaheim and nonprofit partner Long Beach-based City Net have helped 688 people get off the street and into housing.

“We do so through weekly outreach to the riverbed and other locations, offering access to shelters, services and housing,” Lyster said. “Anaheim also has stepped up to be host city for the county’s first year-round homeless shelter, Bridges at Kraemer Place. There are beds at the new shelter and space available at the courtyard in Santa Ana, both of which provide bathrooms and showers. We would encourage anyone in the riverbed looking to break the cycle of homelessness to talk to us on our weekly outreach.”

For more on Anaheim’s efforts to address homelessness, visit

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