Update: El Paso's Poop Alleys
POSTED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 4:43pm
UPDATED: Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 3:43pm
EL PASO - Mayor John Cook says he's known about the problem for a while now, but yet nothing has been done about a Downtown El Paso alley that's lined with human urine and feces. In fact, Mayor Cook told us this isn't the only alley in El Paso that's like that.
Neighbor Randy French says he can't believe what Mayor Cook told us.
"Come to our beautiful City of El Paso. We'll give you a grand tour of all the new renovation things, and then we're going to take you down poop alley where they treat migrant workers like s***. Excuse the language," French said. "Mayor cook said he doesn't know what to do about it last night. I'll take over his job in a heartbeat, without money."
We pushed the city for answers, and today we got them. A Deputy Building Official with the city walked with us down what is now being called "poop alley." He also spoke with French, and told him some unpleasant news about who's responsible for the cleanup.
"The property owners are responsible for the adjacent alleys," Deputy Building Official Bill Stern said .
However, Stern did promise to try to put an end to the dirty problem.
"I will check into that and find out who's responsible for policing the area and making sure people aren't going to the bathroom in the alley," he said.
So how did poop alley turn into a public toilette? As we reported, migrant workers camp outside of the Farm Workers Center waiting for work. Farm workers told us the center doesn't allow them to use the restroom inside. That's also against city code according to Stern.
"So, if someone's been denied access to use the restroom then they can call our department. They can call me personally at 599-3742," Stern said.
We asked the Director of the Farm Workers Center why he's not letting people use the restroom inside.
"We don't allow drunk people to enter the facility. That is a requirement by the State of Texas," Director Carlos Marentes said.
"So, are you saying the majority of the people who use the restroom in the alley are drunk," we asked.
"I don't know. I don't see who does it," Marentes replied.
So for now, Code Enforcement needs to wait for a migrant worker to file a formal complaint, and it appears the city's giving neighbors the number two end of the deal.
"I think they're just trying to pass the buck. That's what I really think," French said.