Some residents in Portland were alarmed Monday night by the appearance of several helicopters. The black aircraft flew at low level for about three hours.
The incident was part of a military training exercise conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense. A spokesman for the DOD says the purpose was to provide urban military experience for the Army and Navy helicopter crews.
The city exercises do not include firing weapons of any kind.
John Doussard is a spokeman for Portland Mayor Tom Potter. He says the public was kept unaware of the exercise because the Department of Defense didn’t want to attract large crowds.
John Doussard: “In retrospect I think that’s a discussion we should have had a little more thought around. I’m not sure that keeping this as quiet as we did was a good idea at all. It alarmed a lot of people unnecessarily and I think there was probably a way we could have gotten a word out but also not disrupted the training.”
The Mayor’s Office has put a brief statement on Potter’s official website, stating the exercises will resume in Portland Wednesday night.
Salem will also see helicopter exercises Tuesday and Thursday.