The states of Oregon and Washington were hit by a major UFO flap in early February.
In Inglewood, Washington (population 4,000), a suburb of Seattle, Jim Waylons was returning to his apartment house around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, February 7, when he spotted "a bright yellow light" hovering over the neighborhood. The unknown object reportedly "hovered over the town for at least 45 minutes," and its presence set off "alarms and security lights" in the building. "They apparently had trouble turning them off until the light in the sky had left."
Also on February 7, two Wallowa County Sheriff's Department deputies encountered a UFO while on patrol in Joseph, Oregon (population 1,000). The deputies saw "a perfectly round blue 'fireball' descend vertically in the southern sky right in front" of their cruiser. They "watched the object for two or three seconds, during which it traversed 20 to 40 degrees of arc viewed from the ground." They estimated the UFO to be "1/4 to 1/2 the diameter of the full moon." The object disappeared behind the Wallowa Mountains south of Joseph.
The same evening, several persons in Richland, Oregon, 20 miles south of Joseph, reported a similar "fireball" low on the horizon. Both towns are in the northeast corner of Oregon, near the Snake River and the Idaho state line.
On Saturday, February 8, 1997, at 8 p.m., Shirley Jenkins, who lives at Beacon Hill just north of the twin cities of Kelso (population 11,200) and Longview (population 32,000), Washington, spotted a UFO while heading south on the West Side Highway, along the Cowlitz River. "I watched an unknown light suddenly come into view above downtown Kelso and within seconds [it] dropped to the southwest. It was greenish in color, not round but sort of oval in appearance. The whole experience may have lasted 7 to 10 seconds."
Shirley and her passenger "were both in awe and trying to explain what it could have been, and both decided it was not an airplane or anything either of us had seen before. It was stationary when it first showed up and then shot to the southwest and disappeared." Shirley said she grew up in Kansas and "knows what shooting stars and satellites look like."
Meanwhile, 40 miles to the south, in the night sky over Salem, Oregon, a private pilot from Bend, Oregon was flying a heading of 108 degrees (magnetic) at an altitude of 7,000 feet. At just about 8 p.m., he "saw a 'green fireball' go streaking from left to right in front of my aircraft at a very high velocity." The pilot radioed Seattle Center, and they responded that they had nothing on radar except a United Airlines jetliner at 10,000 feet. Looking out the window, the pilot saw the jetliner overhead. He added that the fireball "simply disappeared in the blink of an eye. It just seemed suddenly to wink out."
The incident was reported Sunday, February 9, in broadcasts on KGW-TV Channel 8 in Portland and on KING-TV Channel 5 in Seattle.
On Saturday, February 8, at 11:58 p.m., two men in Oroville, California (population 8,700) saw a ring of "seven to ten very dim reddish points of light, perhaps discoid in shape, streaking in the western sky from north to south."
On Tuesday, February 4, 1997, at 6:15 p.m., a private pilot flying south of Diamond Lake Junction, Oregon (population 150), east of Crater Lake National Park, saw "three discs" speeding across the dark sky, pursued by "several jet interceptors." (Many thanks to Peter B. Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center and to Shirley Jenkins and Rick Coimbra for providing the information for this story.)
Original file name: CNI - Pac NW UFO Flap
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