PORT ANGELES — A suspicious package that prompted closure of a portion of a downtown Port Angeles street on Saturday morning turned out to contain a six pack of beer and fireworks.
The Washington State Patrol bomb squad arrived from Bremerton early Saturday afternoon and took the package to a quarry to examine it, said Chief Brian Smith of the Port Angeles Police Department.
The package, which had been left unattended, had suspicious writing on it, the chief said. He didn’t know the exact phrase but said it mentioned something about the Fourth of July and Donald Trump.
“There was no evidence of any malicious intent on anyone’s part,” Smith said, but added that the protocol is to treat with great care any unattended packages that seem at all suspicious.
Sgt. Kevin Miller of the Port Angeles Police Department, who was the incident commander, said the appearance of the package prompted officials to close the market until a determination could be made about its contents.
“It had a lot of things written on it that gave suspicion that it could be a possible explosive,” Miller said.
Police and fire first responders were called to The Gateway transit center upon discovery of the package, which was located next to a portable toilet near North Lincoln Street. Police evacuated the area.
That entailed closing down the Port Angeles Farmers Market in The Gateway’s pavilion as well as the sidewalk on Front Street and the entire 200 block of North Lincoln Street.
“We had everybody close down,” Miller said of the market. “They were disappointed, but a lot people were, ‘Hey, better to be safe than sorry.’”
Rickie Stimbert, Clallam Transit operations supervisor, said that despite the close proximity of the package to the transit system’s bus lanes, there were minimal service disruptions.
“We were able to reroute the buses so it didn’t delay our service,” she said. “The only one that was delayed was our Forks bus, and we were able to go through another part of town and completely avoid the area.
“We didn’t miss a beat.”
On Sunday, the Port Angeles Farmers Market hosted its strawberry shortcake fundraiser, which had been canceled due to the public safety issue, in the Red Lion Hotel parking lot.
The sales at 221 N. Lincoln St. continued as long as supplies lasted.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].