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In downtown Anchorage, gates go up to block alley that became a public toilet

Alaska Dispatch News
Andrew Duncan and Todd Hendrickson of Acme Fence Co. install gates at the ends of the covered breezeway between the 4th Avenue Theatre and First National Bank of Alaska on Thursday. The area has become a popular spot for people to relieve themselves. Bob Hallinen

An alleyway beside the historic 4th Avenue Theatre in downtown Anchorage is now off limits to people looking for an impromptu public bathroom.

The pedestrian tunnel between the theater and First National Bank of Alaska had become known as a place for passersby -- from homeless to clubgoers -- to relieve themselves. City spokeswoman Lindsey Whitt said Mayor Dan Sullivan directed the city's facilities department to work with the building's owners in putting up gates Thursday that would allow bank employees to exit the building if needed, but not allow for public entry.