Ashland police advise people to avoid downtown as bomb squad experts continue to study a mysterious package found at the base of the Lincoln statue at the lower entrance to Lithia Park.

Experts have gathered in a command center in Ashland’s City Hall to examine photos of the suspected bomb, a package with D batteries, wires, a ticking timer and a message made from magazine clippings that reads “This is not a bomb. This is a hoax.” An Oregon State Police bomb-defusing robot is on the way, officials said.

Businesses around the Plaza have been evacuated. The Plaza and parts of Lithia Park have been roped off with crime scene tape.

— Staff reports