A Place To Pee

I’m walking around downtown trying to find a place to pee, because I really need to. The library is my first choice when it’s open. Most restaurants are for paying customers, of course. There are no public toilets at the parking garage because somebody misbehaved, so they’re closed. What the hell? I am reduced to carefully planning where I can find a toilet when traveling around town. If you’re a guy one can find a corner behind a dumpster for number one, but ladies? Sorry. A public bath is common in Asian and Middle Eastern countries and many European countries have public lavatories.

I know there are issues with practicality and safety, but we are talking about a basic human function here in an urban space. Why don’t we have a laundromat, shower or toilet combo facilities? The YMCA, St. Vinnies and malls can provide these services for a small fee. Safer for the homeless and community at large.

Another problem is litter. Eugene is one of the cleanest cities I’ve lived in, but lately I have never seen so much litter and there is no garbage can anywhere. When I see litter I am compelled to pick it up and have to put it in a small bag until I get home.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, had a serious litter homeless problem until the mayor started a program where they were paid to pick up litter, offered a free lunch and connections to social services. Eugene could do that for less than the millions they spent not solving the homeless situation and the city would be cleaner.

Meanwhile, thank God the library is open again and I know where to find a toilet.

Alisa McLaughlin


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