October 18th, 2007 | by Jonah Sandford News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

TOPOFF Diary: Doubletree Debacle

     
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I'm on my way to the Doubletree Hotel at Lloyd Center for this afternoon's stop on the TOPOFF tour: a "state of play" briefing with "key exercise leadership." The wind is blowing like crazy, spreading autumn leaves across the streets. If the Lloyd Center area could ever be beautiful, this is the day.
Then, as I pull up to the corner of Northeast 10th and Multnomah, I see this:
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Is this it? Have the worst fears of the Oregon Truth Alliance and others finally come to be? Has the TOPOFF exercise "gone live?"
Directly in front of the Doubletree are several police vehicles, lights flashing, and dozens of cops in riot gear. The streets are blocked off in all directions, and the MAX has stopped running through the area. Across the street are several men in combat fatigues and other official-looking, TOPOFF-type gear, as well as Doubletree employees and a few people holding their suitcases.
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It's hard not to think terrible thoughts as a helicopter buzzes directly overhead.
But apparently, life as we know it is not ending.
An (incredibly nice) member of the US Army who I'm standing with, watching all this, tells me that around 1 pm everyone was evacuated from the hotel because of a bomb threat. The man, who is down from Seattle to help with communications for TOPOFF, says at first they didn't think too much of it, but then the riot squad showed up and they've been standing outside ever since. He points out that if he were dealing with a possible bomb situation, he probably wouldn't park all the vehicles directly in front of the building.
So as of 2:50 pm, they still weren't letting any of the TOPOFF "players" back in the building.
Oh, and the army guy I was talking to and his colleagues? It was sounding like they might have the rest of the afternoon off. They didn't sound too upset about it.
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