3 hospitalized after state government offices receive suspicious packages in Oregon

© Steve Dipaola
The FBI is assisting the Oregon State Police in a statewide investigation into suspicious mail received at multiple government offices. Three people have been hospitalized and some of the packages contained an “unknown substance,” according to police.

The conditions of those hospitalized are unclear.

Authorities announcing the investigation on Monday said packages had been received at government offices, sheriff’s offices and courthouses, local media reported.

An Oregon State Police (OSP) dispatcher said there was a white powder incident at the jail and sheriff’s office in Grant County, Oregon. An envelope addressed to and opened by Sheriff Glenn Palmer caused him to break out in a skin rash and he was rushed to an emergency room for observation. Two other people were also taken to hospitals. Hazardous materials teams and investigators responded to the incident.

READ MORE: Pentagon's anthrax blunder reveals ‘major protocol problems’

The Blue Mountain Eagle reported that the sheriff’s office shares a centralized air conditioning system with the jail, so inmates and additional staff might have been affected.

OSP spokesman Lt. Bill Fugate confirmed that three counties all received the suspicious packages and he had heard that packages had arrived at up to 20 locations, although this has not been confirmed.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in southwest Oregon was among the agencies to receive a parcel, reported the Associated Press.

The Mail Tribune in Medford reported that the department’s rural office in White City had discovered a package and that the department’s main building had been evacuated for about three hours.

READ MORE: Army shipped live anthrax for 10 years, couldn't effectively kill bacteria - CDC

The FBI is now assisting in the investigation.

The FBI is working with Oregon State Police, the US Postal Inspection Service, and all of the affected government agencies related to the reports of suspicious mail,” said the Bureau in a statement.

At this point it is too early to say where this investigation may lead or to release any details about the letters or locations. We do not anticipate issuing any updates this evening, but if the situation warrants, media will be contacted.

Detectives are also being brought in from Ontario, Canada.