Does Clark County really need a trailer?

Clark County Commissioners awarded a $43,278 bid on Tuesday to Hurd’s Custom Machinery of Harrisburg, Ore., for an “explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trailer.”

Does Clark County really need a trailer?

Yes, explained Detective Steve Fox of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, who works with the Metro Explosive Disposal Unit.

The Portland-based unit has a trailer, but it stays south of the Columbia River unless it’s necessary to haul it up here to safely transport suspicious-looking items.

Time gets wasted waiting for the trailer to arrive on the scene, Fox told commissioners. Then there’s the matter of what would happen “if something happened to the bridges,” Fox said. (In that scenario, Fox reassured the commissioners that the county would still have a decent bomb squad because two Portland squad members live here.)

“Do we pay rent or something like that to borrow (the trailer)?” Commissioner Tom Mielke asked Fox.


Is this in the CCSO’s budget? Mielke asked.

Yes, explained Administrator Bill Barron. The funds to buy the trailer came from a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

So how often does the bomb squad use one of those trailers to haul a device away to an empty field and, as Fox put it, “render safe”?

“A lot more often than what you think,” Fox said after the meeting.

In 2009, the Metro Explosive Disposal Unit responded to 420 calls; 120 of those calls were in Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties.

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