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Arson attempted at city hall

Improvised incendiary device thrown at broken plate glass window on second floor of city hall
by: Jim Hart, A thrown rock damaged this 3-by-5 plate glass window in city hall, but an apparent attempt at arson wasn’t successful.

West Linn police are not sure if attempted arson to West Linn City Hall was the act of a juvenile prankster, disgruntled employee or dissatisfied citizen. But one thing is certain in the attempted Molotov cocktail bombing of city council chambers that occurred in the wee hours Tuesday morning, according to Sgt. Neil Hennelly.

'We have received no notes from any terrorist organization,' Hennelly said. 'But anytime criminal mischief activity is directed toward a government building, especially the seat of city government, the suspect pool is ocean-like.'

Also to be considered in the investigation, Hennelly said, are juveniles who are often referred to police when they wander through the residential area near city hall and end up throwing rocks in the swimming pool.

As for a disgruntled employee, Hennelly says the last one to be implicated in criminal activity on the job is still incarcerated.

'There are always people who are unhappy with something that the government has done,' Hennelly said. 'Or this could be just a totally random act - somebody just messing around - although it seems pretty directed.'

A city employee discovered the broken heavy plate glass window in the second-floor council chambers at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

A joint worksession of the city council and planning commission was held inside council chambers Monday night. That meeting broke up at about 10 p.m. When City Manager Chris Jordan left the building at 11:30 p.m., he said there was no one else nearby. Jordan told investigators that he turned the lights out in council chambers just before he left, and the glass windows were intact at that time.

The window was broken by a rock, Hennelly said, that was thrown from an area traversed by a paved walking path bordered by lawn and landscaped areas.

During the course of the investigation Tuesday morning, police discovered an improvised incendiary device (Molotov cocktail type) on the ground below the window. It appeared that the suspect(s) attempted to throw the device through the window they had broken with the rock, which Hennelly says was found inside council chambers. Due to the ongoing investigation, police would not say if the device had been lighted.

'We just want to hear from anyone who might have been in the area,' Hennelly said, 'because we know that area is used at times around the clock, often by people getting exercise or walking their dogs.'

As of Tuesday afternoon, police investigators say they had not yet located any suspects for this crime, and are asking for information from anyone who was in the area of city hall, 22500 Salamo Road, late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information should call 503-655-6214 and leave a message for Officer Allister Bunch.