Possible explosive device thrown at food cart in SE Portland

Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 5:28 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - It was a tense scene in the Lents neighborhood late Saturday night as the Portland Police Bureau tried to defuse a possible explosive device that was thrown at a food cart on Southeast 82nd Avenue.

Tim Turcotte owns Esan Thai Eastport in the Eastport Food Cart Pod. He said he stepped outside of his house late Saturday night and saw a group of suspicious individuals near his cart. Turcotte watched one of them light a device and throw it at his business, then run off with more objects he said were also pipe bombs.

Once the group fled the area, Turcotte got closer to see what was thrown.

“It was probably a three-inch metal tube, probably four inches long with clay packed in on the sides,” Turcotte said. “They wrote ‘five-point-zero’ across the device.”

Realizing it could be an explosive device, Turcotte called 911. PPB arrived and began to investigate the object that sat on the ground.

“The police officer that came was like, ‘We need to move everyone back,’” Turcotte said. “They taped off all of 82nd (Avenue.)”

Cell phone video shows officers carefully removing the device from the food cart pod. An officer on the scene told Turcotte it was in fact a pipe bomb, but PPB has not confirmed that with FOX 12 at this time.

“It just blew my mind, no pun intended,” Turcotte said. “It was kind of crazy.”

With propane tanks hooked up to many of the food carts, a potential explosion could have been catastrophic. Turcotte was able to scare off the group before anything like that could have happened.

“They’ve been blowing up the homeless carts and the RVs in the area,” he said. “Those make a gnarly situation, let alone what you could do to a food cart hooked up to a 100-gallon propane tank.”

Turcotte said he would never move his food cart and loves being part of the Eastport Food Cart Pod. He said the customers are great and his neighborhood watches out for each other.

He said when the sun goes down, crime starts to happen. To help prevent crime throughout Portland, Turcotte said the community needs to have each other’s backs.

“Be neighborly and everything will go smoothly,” he said. “You just got to watch for the ones that don’t live in your neighborhood.”