Police: No 'suspicious devices' found during search

by: MARK MILLER - A St. Helens police cruiser blocks off Plaza Square from South First Street in St. Helens Thursday, May 1, after the Columbia County Courthouse was evacuated due to a bomb threat.A bomb threat made to court offices at the Columbia County Courthouse prompted the building's evacuation Thursday, May 1.

Columbia County Commissioner Earl Fisher said somebody called the courthouse at about 2 p.m. Thursday and said there were two pipe bombs somewhere in the building set to go off.

St. Helens police responded to the threat. The courthouse was evacuated, with Fisher and others moving two blocks west to South First Street in Old Town St. Helens.

“A team of officers from multiple agencies searched the building without finding any suspicious devices,” the St. Helens Police Department said in a statement. “The 'all clear' was given at about 3:30 p.m. and the courthouse resumed normal activity.”

However, due to the duration of the evacuation, county employees were sent home early.

“Given the police estimate of the time it would take to clear the buildings, Commissioners Fisher and [Henry] Heimuller sent all evacuated employees home after about an hour and half of waiting outside,” a statement from Columbia County read in part. “The buildings have now been cleared but, since most employees have gone home, the Courthouses are closed for the day.”

The identity of the person who made the threat has not been determined, and police said no suspects have been identified. A police investigation is ongoing.

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