Explosions in NE Portland take out mailbox, book exchange

Multnomah County

Explosions happened late Saturday, very early Monday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A mailbox exploded in Northeast Portland early Monday, about 26 hours after a book exchange box blew up just a few miles away.

Around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct responded to a report of an explosion at Northeast 87th Avenue and Fremont Street. With wood debris and books scattered around the scene, officers arrived to find a free book exchange box had been destroyed.

At least two homes were minorly damaged from the debris, but no one was injured.

The owners of the book exchange box provided before-and-after pictures and said the only thing that was left of the books was tiny scraps of paper. The explosion also damaged their front door.

Two separate explosions took out a mailbox and a book exchange at residences in Northeast Portland, July 12, 2021 (KOIN)

“When we woke up the next morning, our front door looked like it had been bashed in, so we came outside and discovered the little library had completely exploded. And there were pieces three or four houses down the way. And the back hit the front door and created a hole in the front door,” homeowner Meg Krugel told KOIN 6 News.

She said they have 2 small children and it’s been “traumatic” telling them the library was vandalized.

“Lots of tears about it. Just making sense about the fact that there are people who are aggressive and make you feel unsafe in your own home is hard,” she said.

Then on Monday morning, another explosion occurred. This detonation happened in a mailbox on Northeast 148th Avenue between Burnside and Glisan around 1:17 a.m. When officers arrived, they found debris from a brick mailbox enclosure spread across the roadway for 100 feet or so.

Two separate explosions took out a mailbox and a book exchange at residences in Northeast Portland, July 12, 2021 (KOIN)

This area is about 5 minutes away from the first explosion. Neighbors told KOIN 6 News they heard the brick mailbox explode early Monday morning and said it sounded like a car crash.

“A boom and I came out to check on it because I was in bed,” said neighbor Robert Rasmussen. “It was a preety good sized boom.”

Richard Rasmussen heard an explosion that took out a mailbox at a home in Northeast Portland, July 12, 2021 (KOIN)

Chunks of concrete littered the sidewalk. Video from the early morning hours showed the street was filled.

Somehow, no one was hurt in either explosion.

Police spoke to witnesses in the area, but there is no suspect information at this time.

NE 148th Avenue was shut down for several hours while police investigated the scene. It has since reopened.

Police say both incidents are under investigation by the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) and the Portland Fire Arson Investigations Unit. Anyone with information is asked to email Detective Meredith Hopper at Meredith.Hopper@portlandoregon.gov.

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