HERMISTON - In the spring of 2000, before the Umatilla Chemical Depot begun its incineration process, the facility was plagued by a series of bomb threats.

The first call of the year came in February, though a similar threat had been made the previous summer. The 1,000 employees were sent home as a precaution, though the night crew came on as scheduled.

The depot's problems were only beginning, however, as three bomb threats were called in on successive days the following week, beginning on March 7.

A Montana man working at the site was arrested on suspicion of making the call on March 8, but was released the same day when another threat was phoned in.

Calls continued intermittently through March and?April on the phone and radio, and for each threat workers were sent home or to another area of the depot.

All the threats were directed towards the incinerator, leading some to believe an employee was making the calls to extend the life of the project. Several groups put together a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person making the threats.

The threats subsided by 2001 and the incinerator went into operation in 2005.

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