Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Helicopter training mission creates big buzz in dowtown Portland

One of the joys of urban living is watching the night sky. We had quite a show last evening. We watched as the three black helicopters with no markings landed on top of the Fox Tower, immediately took off and streaked away faster than we've ever seen helicopters fly.

Helicopter training mission creates big buzz in dowtown Portland
11:12 PM PDT on Monday, August 25, 2008
By NICK BRADSHAW, kgw.com Staff

A lot of people were buzzing about all the helicopters jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper Monday Night.

They're coming back.

Those helicopters that began buzzing downtown at 7 on Monday will be returning Wednesday evening as part of a U.S. Navy training exercise.

The Navy was conducting "urban military" training with multiple helicopters flying at low altitudes in downtown Portland and the surrounding area for a few hours, said John Doussard, a spokesman for Mayor Tom Potter. The Navy had approached the mayor's office last November requesting permission to conduct training in Portland, and the city agreed in April.

The scene of choppers ferrying apparently armed crews over Southwest Broadway and landing on a high-rise roof, however, spooked many, prompting dozens of calls to emergency dispatchers and the mayor's office. The Portland Police, which is helping coordinate the training, issued notice to media organizations less than 20 minutes prior to the start of the exercise.
"My personal opinion is I wish we had done a better job of (alerting citizens)," said Doussard. "(The Defense Department) like to get in and do their training and get out without a lot of hoopla. But when you fly a helicopter over a busy downtown, there is a certain amount of hoopla involved."

According to the letter granting permission, Potter wrote that "members of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment would utilize buildings in the jurisdiction of the City of Portland for this training exercise. I understand that this training will include low visibility movement, military operations in urban terrain, manual and low weight explosive breaching, fast-rope insertion, live fire, low-power training ammunition, simmunitions, flash bang, surveillance and counter-surveillance."

No comments: