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To the Editor:

Last summer a local woman, Debra Carey, spent her own money to have a port-a-potty installed in the Jim DeMulling Park at the north end of Garberville. The unexpected appearance of the facility caused considerable commotion in our community and the unpermitted port-a-potty was hastily removed by Humboldt County Public Works.

The friction generated by this event created the impetus for a series of community meetings. Concerns from all sides were aired – some with strong emotion – as participants described the various issues surrounding homelessness in Southern Humboldt. From these meetings a core group of interested citizens formed a Solutions Task Force, and sorted out into a number of working groups, each resolved to accomplish a concrete goal.

One of the working groups, calling ourselves the Garberville-Redway Public Restroom Working Group (GRPRWG), took its mission to work “…partnering with local organizations and non-profits, as well as soliciting input from local businesses, residents, and visitors as plans are developed for the funding and implementation of restrooms, and as restroom maintenance plans are being developed.”

The current core membership of GRPRWG includes Traci Bear, Cheri Porter-Keisner, Suzelle, Edward Keisner, Jackie Pantaleo, Leo Power, Mike Miller, Bob Froehlich, Jim Truitt and David Ordonez.

The shared vision of GRPRWG members includes the following goals: “… the identification and mapping of existing public use restrooms, which would be accessible to all, and development of maintenance and security plans to insure sustainability for the new facilities. This project strives to help improve the quality of life for community members and those visiting our area and address sanitation and other public health issues associated with lack of adequate restroom facilities.”

The Public Restroom Working Group is currently finishing the assessment of existing public restrooms, conducting a business and public survey of opinions regarding public restrooms, continuing to make presentations to local organizations and non-profits and collecting “memos of intent to support/endorse” from those organizations, gathering grant and other funding information, and assessing possible locations for restrooms in the Garberville-Redway area.

The hope of the GRPRWG is that what started out as a contentious event will serve to catalyze the efforts of our diverse Southern Humboldt community to work together in projects that can benefit us all. If you are interested in helping or have questions about the group, call 247-3440 or email pubrestroom@gmail.com.

David Ordonez

Redway

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