Wave of bomb threats rolls through Oregon

Written by Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer November 19, 2012 04:01 pm

The Wallowa County Courthouse was evacuated this afternoon after a bomb threat was called into the building at 3 p.m. today (Monday)... KATY NESBITT - The Observer
The Wallowa County Courthouse was evacuated this afternoon after a bomb threat was called into the building at 3 p.m. today (Monday)... KATY NESBITT - The Observer

Union, Wallowa and Baker counties all receive threats 

Starting around 2:30 p.m. Monday, numerous Oregon courthouses including those those in Union, Wallowa and Baker Counties received phoned in bomb threats. Oregon State Police are reporting that these threats appear to be similar to multiple reports received November 15 in Washington State (approximately 8 reports) and November 2 (approximately 9 reports) in Nebraska which were all unfounded.

The OSP said late Monday afternoon that 18 locations including 17 county courthouses and the Oregon Public Service Building in Salem, received threats. Some of the locations reported evacuations while responding law enforcement personnel conduct area checks for any suspicious objects. None of the reports have confirmed finding any suspicious objects. Other locations have not evacuated occupants but are also conducting area checks.

According to local reports, county offices in Wallowa, Baker and Union Counties all received threats, though details on the threats were few.

In Union County, Lt. Derick Reddington of the La Grande Police Department said a bomb threat was placed to the county clerk's office about 3 p.m. Monday. Reddington said the caller stated a bomb had been placed in a county building. He said the Union County Sheriff's Office led a search of the county courthouse. The building was evacuated and and deputies were stationed at doorways of the courthouse as the search went on. 

Nothing suspicious was found.

Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen, who was in charge of the operation, wasn't immediately available for comment.

The Baker County Courthouse was evacuated about 2:30 Monday afternoon after a bomb threat was called in to the building, at 1995 Third St., about 2:20 p.m.

The offices were cleared and the building was closed while authorities attempted to locate a bomb-detecting dog to go through the Courthouse, said Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner.

Courthouse employees were pushed back to the sidewalk behind Ace Hardware at Second Street and Washington Avenue while county administrators decided how to proceed.

Baker City Police, sheriff’s department deputies and OSP officers blocked the streets around the Courthouse and directed traffic.

Also, a bomb threat was called into the Wallowa County Commissioners’ Office around 3 p.m. Monday. The Courthouse was evacuated and officers were guarding each of the entrances.

Wallowa County Emergency Services, Enterprise City Police and Enterprise Fire Department and Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office blocked off the building after it was evacuated and the surrounding streets.

 


The Oregon State Police General Headquarters in the Public Service Building in Salem received a similar report at approximately 3:00 p.m. The building was evacuated and but later allowed employees back in to their work locations at about 4:00 p.m. after an area check was completed.

OSP Hazardous Device technicians have not responded to any locations at this time because of no confirmed findings.

All county courthouses fall under the security jurisdiction of each respected county courthouse. No other information for release at this time.

The OSP said the threats began abut 2:30 p.m. and continued for about an hour. Locations confirming they have received threats include Crook County, Baker County, Benton County, Curry County, Jefferson County, Tillamook County, Deschutes County, Morrow County, Grant County, Malheur County, Wallowa County, Umatilla County, Marion County, Klamath County, Lake County and Union County.

Oregon Live was reporting Monday that Washington County authorities were checking bomb threats on Washington County buildings. The Washington County Sheriff's Office said someone reported the threat to the elections department around 3 p.m., but specifics of the call weren't available.