Bomb scare defused in Eastmoreland

by: David F. Ashton Steadying his flashlight and wielding pincers, the sergeant takes a careful look at the device at his feet.

The typical calm of a summer's Sunday was disrupted in Eastmoreland on August 7 when a neighbor, bicycling along S.E. 35th Avenue noticed an odd looking object in the road, a couple of yards south of S.E. Lambert Street.

What caught his attention was a long metallic cylinder, with what could be a wire or fuse, lying on in the street, a few feet from the curb. He called 9-1-1, and soon Portland Police Bureau officers were on scene, walking carefully as they strung up yellow police-line tape.

'We're keeping the area clear until a bomb expert can come take a look at it,' an officer remarked. 'If it's real, we're probably standing too close to it right now.'

The object certainly did look as if it could be a high explosive, as viewed through the high-power telephoto camera lens we focused on it from the cover of a nearby Elm tree.

At 12:42 pm, a Police Bureau sergeant - an expert with the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit - rolled up, donned his protective year and walked toward the object.

He examined it carefully for nearly ten minutes - first standing above it, and finally actually lying down in the street beside it for a very close look. Then, standing, he picked up the cylinder and slid it into his pants pocket.

'I'm 99% certain this is an industrial control, perhaps a thermostat from a water heater,' the sergeant announced. 'But, better to be safe than sorry.'

With the police-line tape rolled up, and the sun filtering down through the canopy of trees, Eastmorelanders resumed another casual Sunday - many of them unaware of the drama that had just played out in the street.