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April 19th, 2006 12:00 am Angela Valdez | News Stories

This Story Is A Pipe Bomb

In this age of metal detectors and terror alert lists, a loophole in national security has been exposed in sleepy Portland on a TriMet bus...if you believe terrorists are kind enough to label their bombs.

At 4:24 pm last Thursday, April 13, a westbound No. 15 bus stopped for Ben Leavitt at the corner of Southeast 38th Avenue and Belmont Street. Leavitt, 25, secured his black 10-speed on the bike rack, then put one foot on the first step of the bus.

Leavitt says the driver yelled, "Get your bike off my bus!" When he asked why, the driver pointed to a sticker on his bike. It bore the name of one of Leavitt's favorite bands, the Florida folk-punk group "This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb."

They argued a little before Leavitt gave up and returned home to file a complaint. TriMet wrote back Friday, saying the driver, whose name was not released, should have called dispatch immediately, "so emergency responders [could] be on the scene and assist in the evaluation of any questionable item or situation."

Leavitt was relieved she hadn't. At Ohio University last month, the discovery of a similar sticker on a locked bike prompted a campus lockdown while a 70-member bomb squad disassembled the bike. The owner was charged with a misdemeanor of inducing panic.

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