(Update 3:42 p.m.) Police have declared the suspicious package totally harmless after inspecting the contents in the bag. According to news reports, the bomb squad used robot devices to examine the suitcase, and all was clear by 3:30 p.m. Police send their apologies for the drama, which included traffic jams and rerouted Muni lines, but it was better to be safe than sorry.
(Update: 2:22 p.m.) SF Weekly intern Coburn Palmer is at the scene and tells us that police were called after someone found a suitcase/backpack zip-tied to a tree, about 20 feet above ground. The cops evacuated part of the Ferry Building and closed down the Embarcadero from Howard to Washington streets.
(Original story 1:54 p.m.): Traffic is backed up along Market and the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building as police investigate a suspicious suitcase that was found in downtown this morning.
Officer Albie Esparza is on his way to the scene now, where a police chopper is flying above. He told us that the surrounding area near Steuart, Market, and Mission streets has been blocked off, creating a major traffic jam leading up to the Bay Bridge.
Cops have ordered employees at nearby businesses to stay inside their buildings for now, and the bomb squad has been called to the scene.
Some restaurants were also evacuated; however, we haven't gotten a tally on how many people were ordered to leave.
Check back for updates.