Portland company builds security barriers

Portland company builds security barriers


by JOE SMITH, for KGW.com


Posted on August 9, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 10 at 9:15 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. - Since 9/11, security concerns have been paramount in cities across America.

Portland's Silver Eagle manufacturing company, known for working with the military, believes it has found one answer to those concerns by putting up barriers -- literally. 

Thousands of riders crossing the Fremont during this years Bridge Pedal got to see the company's technology first-hand. 

"This is a trailer that turns into mobile barrier, it's a 'Transformer,'" said Jay Wilson, CEO, Silver Eagle manufacturing company.

The Transformer is the nickname for the Rapid Wall. In just  three minutes, the wall is up, keeping vehicle traffic off the bridge.

"I think it was one of those... pieces where people said, 'I can't believe nobody thought of that before,'"said Wilson.

Silver Eagle is known for building military Humvee trailers, among other things.

The initial idea for the Rapid Wall began in the UK, in an effort to develop a portable security barrier for use during the 2012 Olympics.

Silver Eagle engineer Dan Wahlstrom and his team refined the design. It took just six month from prototype to the final product.

"It's used for crowd control, for crime scene management, crash scene investigations, anywhere you want to separate people and places," said Wahlstrom.

The Rapid Wall can stretch 44.6 feet, about the width of four lanes. Ten are now being road tested around the county.

"The Department of Homeland Security is very interested in protecting venues where lots of people are congregating in a small space," said Wilson.  "It is very critical to them being successful at managing where the people are and where they shouldn't be and where they should be."

For events like the Bridge Pedal, it can save money.

"When you're blocking off a road or a thoroughfare, the alternative is to use a police car. If you can use this and then redeploy the police car or the person somewhere else, now you're getting much better utilization of those personnel costs, " said Wilson.

The cost of the Rapid Wall is $37,000. It's being tried out at the Daytona race track, and at the University of Michigan and Penn State.