The bomb found Saturday in Boardman would have had a minimum blast radius of approximately 100 yards, and likely would have damaged a nearby mobile home park if it had exploded, according to Oregon State Patrol Detective Dennis Wagner.
Two women stumbled across the unusual capped pipe with wires sticking out while cleaning up at Boardman’s Community Pride Day.
They decided to play it safe.
They decided correctly.
The device turned out to be a pipe bomb with explosive powder and 4-inch nails to create shrapnel. Depending on how close they were to the device, it would have severely injured or killed people.
Julie Gisi was planting along Boardman Avenue on the other side of the freeway when she was told of the worrisome object and tracked down a nearby police officer.
“They were wise enough that they knew to take precaution,” Gisi said. “There’s a lot to be grateful for.”
The identities of the two potentially life-saving women is still a mystery. Boardman chamber of commerce director Diane Wolfe was shocked to find the strange-looking device was actually a bomb.
“I have no idea what sort of objects I had put in my garbage bag that day,” Wolfe said. “Luckily they were smart enough to think twice.”
Boardman police called OSP’s bomb squad to disable the device. To disable potential bombs, the squad uses a robot equipped with a barrel that shoots out various electric charges or projects water at a high rate of speed.
The investigation remains into who made the bomb, how it got to the site and its purpose.
“Each one of these bombs is unique and we’re hoping to be able to get some evidence from the way it was constructed,” he said. “It wasn’t a really (an) advanced device but it was something somebody took some time to build, and it was fairly ingenious.”
Wagner said he couldn’t elaborate further the bomb’s nature at this point in the investigation.
Police currently have no suspects in the case.
Contact Natalie Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.