PDX to get body-scanning security machines

PDX to get body-scanning security machines »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - Following the bomb scare in Detroit Christmas Day, travelers at Portland International Airport will be screened with new technology and the Transportation Security Administration said Monday the airport will get body scan machines sometime next year.

The body-scan machines are designed to detect weapons or explosives using low-level X-rays.

Tina Burke, from the local TSA office, said Monday that after the machines are installed she does not know (at this time) when they will be used on passengers or how many of them will be required to pass through the machines. She said that decision will come from TSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and will depend on the number of machines the airport receives.

The machines don’t come without controversy, however; privacy advocates said the machine subjects passengers to a virtual strip search.

Other machines that hit passengers with quick bursts of air to dislodge small particles that could be instantly analyzed for traces of explosives were removed several months ago. They were installed in 2006. The remaining machines are getting upgrades with technology that is designed to detect explosives in liquid, aerosols, and gels.

Portland International Airport already uses bomb-detecting scanners to analyze checked baggage and Monday morning something suspicious was detected by unit number three, possibly explosives in a bag. It turned out to be homemade Christmas ornaments. The incident caused no delays for passengers.

With Christmas Day's bomb scare, passengers on international flights should be aware of few changes:

  • A second screening for international flights.
  • U.S.-bound passengers are limited to one carry-on
  • Flyers must now remain seated with no personal items on their laps during the final hour of the flight.

KATU Web producer Steve Benham contributed to this report.