EUGENE, Ore. -- Four months after beginning a trial run of 24/7 public bathrooms in downtown Eugene, one of the facilities has been closed due to safety reasons.
In July, the city of Eugene opened bathrooms in the parking garage on Oak Street and 10th Avenue, behind the downtown library and in a trailer on the Park Blocks in an effort to improve sanitation downtown. Officials said misuse of the facilities could result in permanent or temporary closures.
A sign posted on one of the two bathrooms in the parking garage said it would be closed until further notice due to safety concerns. City offices were closed Monday for Veterans Day, and staff could not comment on what safety concerns led to the closure.
Those who live and work in the area said that homeless people primarily use public bathrooms, sometimes leaving them in poor condition. Gordon Barnes lives on the streets of Eugene and commented on the cleanliness of the bathrooms.
"It varies. It depends on who's been in there or used it last. You never know. Sometimes you go in there and it's clean, and other times it feels like you put on a biohazard suit," he said.
Other homeless people who use the bathrooms said there is no other place for them to privately relieve or clean themselves overnight. Some were worried that if any of the other public bathrooms closed, the streets would be less sanitary.
A sign on the public restroom trailer in the Park Blocks said that it is currently out of order.