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Suspicious device forces road closures downtown

Mon., Jan. 17, 2011, 3:22 p.m.

Authorities are investigating a suspicious package found on the northeast corner of Main Avenue and Washington Street, forcing several streets to be closed or restricted.

A city worker reported the package at 9:26 a.m. Monday, just before the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March was set to begin, according to Cpt. Frank Scalise with the Spokane Police Department. The march was slightly re-routed because of the incident.

Officers from the Spokane City-County Explosives Disposal Unit responded to investigate the package, Scalise said. The FBI also joined the investigation.

It is unclear if any explosive materials were found in the package, but the package has been rendered safe by the Explosives Disposal Unit, an SPD news release said.

Motorists are urged to avoid the Washington-Stevens corridor for several hours. Washington will be closed from Second Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard. Vehicle traffic is being restricted on Spokane Falls from Browne to Howard. Pedestrian traffic is being limited within a block of the incident.

Local businesses in the area were notified of the incident, but it was their choice whether to evacuate, Scalise said.

Many who parked in the area were unable to access their cars for several hours, but “certainly, safety always trumps inconvenience,” he said.

This story is developing.

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