Pipe bomb found near energy hub

Bonneville Power Administration employees found an active pipe bomb near the electricity substation on North Mountain Avenue at about 1 p.m. Wednesday during a routine grounds check, police said.

The Oregon State Police Bomb Squad had deactivated the homemade bomb by about 3:20 p.m. and no one was injured in the incident, said Lt. Corey Falls with the Ashland Police Department.

"Once the device was dismantled the bomb techs confirmed that the device was a good pipe bomb," Falls wrote in a release.

Despite its proximity to the substation, which supplies the city with electricity, police do not believe the bomb was intended to harm a particular place or group, Falls said.

"It's unknown how or why it ended up in the location it was found," he said. "It doesn't look like anybody was targeted at this time."

"I don't think the power plant's targeted by this. I don't think it's someone trying to sabotage that," he said.

The bomb was found in the 400 block of North Mountain Avenue and was outdoors in a secluded area that could not be seen from the street or nearby North Mountain Park, Falls said. The bomb appeared to have been there for quite a while, he said.

Bonneville executives are unnerved by the incident, Pete Jeter, the company's director of security and emergency response, said in a release.

"We take it seriously any time the safety of BPA employees is threatened intentionally or inadvertently," he said. "We're relieved that our employees were unharmed, but at the same time we're concerned about the potential danger presented by the discovery."

Because the bomb was found in a fairly remote area, police decided no evacuations were necessary, according to Falls.

As of Wednesday afternoon, police had no leads on who may have been responsible for the bomb, he said. The bomb will be sent to the Oregon State Crime Lab.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Ashland Police Department at 482-5211.

Bonneville is offering as much as $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the pipe bomb incident. Anyone with information can call the company's confidential crime witness hotline by dialing (800) 437-2744.

"We're hoping that this information will help jog the memory of someone who may have seen something suspicious near the substation," Jeter said. "Sometimes even small details can help law enforcement officials make significant investigative progress."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.

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