Clallam County Courthouse evacuated after suspicious package found

A suspicious package that caused an evacuation of the Clallam County Courthouse on Monday contained a pair of tennis shoes, a shopping list, a cigarette and a spoon, Sheriff’s Sgt. John Hollis said.

The unsealed box was found on a table in the main-floor lobby between the county Assessor and Treasurer’s offices at about 11:20 a.m., Hollis said.

The courthouse was evacuated as a precaution.

A State Patrol bomb squad determined there was no bomb inside the package.

“They suited up and X-rayed it on scene and were able to look at the X-ray right away,” Hollis said in a telephone interview.

“What it ended up being was somebody left a pair of tennis shoes, a shopping list, a cigarette in a plastic container and a spoon.”

The 15- by 8-inch box was closed so the contents could not be seen, Undersheriff Ron Cameron said in a press release.

“Deputies and county administration evaluated the location of the package and, being in a high traffic area for the public and employees, found it was best to close the courthouse for further business for the day and evacuate the building,” Cameron said.

“The jail was not evacuated as it was a distance away from the package, and the secure construction of the correctional facility would minimize impacts to people in that section.”

The State Patrol bomb squad arrived at about 1:40 p.m. and quickly determined there was no bomb.

Court hearings and public meetings scheduled for Monday afternoon and evening, including Commissioner Randy Johnson’s town hall on Charter Review Commission recommendations, were canceled.

The courthouse was expected to reopen for business as usual today (Tuesday, May 25).

Johnson’s town hall has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. June 3, Clerk of the Board Loni Gores said.

Hollis said suspicious packages have caused evacuations of the courthouse before.

“Every year or two, somebody leaves a backpack or something sitting around,” Hollis said.

“In this day and age, we take precautions. We are overly cautious.”