By Chris Collins
US Bank and Banner Bank were closed for a little more than an hour this morning while police investigated bomb threats made to both businesses.
Traffic was restricted on Washington Avenue between Resort Street and Second Street while police and bank employees searched US Bank at 2000 Main St. and Banner Bank at 2024 Washington Ave.
Investigators believe both threats were made by the same person and were called in from St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City, Police Chief Wyn Lohner said. Lohner issued a press release about the investigation early this afternoon.
The first bomb threat was reported by a US Bank employee who called 9-1-1 at 10:29 a.m., Lohner said. About three minutes later, another bomb threat was reported by Banner Bank.
Bank employees were evacuated from both buildings during the searches. No suspicious devices were found, Lohner said.
Video footage also was examined by Banner Bank employees.
Lohner said investigators are following leads and are seeking help from the public to find the person responsible for the threats. Anyone with information is asked to call dispatch at 541-523-3644.
Baker City Public Works crews and Oregon State Police officers were drenched by heavy rainfall driven by high winds and were pelted by a short-lived hailstorm while they worked to cordon off the area and direct traffic away from the banks during the investigation. The storm, which began just as the buildings were being evacuated, ended shortly before the banks were reopened about 11:45 a.m.