Police investigate break-in at PGE, WL Paper site
West Linn Police are investigating a break-in and vandalism at property held by West Linn Paper Company and Portland General Electric.
The incident, which took place at some point between Nov. 18 and 19, resulted in substantial damage to equipment on the industrial site, according to West Linn Police spokesperson Jeff Halverson. Seven people were picked up on security cameras, but only two were shown clearly enough to potentially be identified in a photo shared by police.
As of Monday, Dec. 3, police said no arrests had been made but officers were in the early stages of following up on leads.
"There was pretty extensive damage at the (paper) mill (site)," Halverson said. "Trail cameras picked up youths walking around in there, and they got into the old mill. It's pretty hazardous where they were. When security guys and engineers got there the next morning, they found a bunch of machinery damaged — a trash rake, actuators, the fish ladder had some damage."
Halverson said the damages would amount to at least $100,000. Based on the damage found on the machines, it appeared that the intruders operated the trash rake and smashed it against other equipment.
"The fish ladder (near the Willamette Falls) was damaged the most, it sounds like," Halverson said. "The trash rake was vandalized (and) inoperable. It removes debris from the fish ladder."
PGE spokesperson Andrea Platt said the incident was the latest in a troubling trend.
"We've seen a recent uptick of trespassers on that property that West Linn Paper occupies," Platt said. "We have really stepped up our surveillance and security, and will continue to work with law enforcement."
And equipment damage isn't the only concern when these incidents take place, according to Platt.
"Industrial sites can present really unique dangers," Platt said. "Safety is a huge priority for PGE, and one of our biggest concerns is that trespassers may not realize the danger they present to themselves or others.
"It's a large piece of property, there are barriers to entry (and) it appears the trespassers are taking risks to get through those barriers. And that's, of course, very concerning."