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Sheriff's Office one of several government buildings across the state to receive identical letter



COURTNEY VAUGHN - A Columbia County Sheriff vehicle parks outside the Columbia County Courthouse. The Sheriff's Office was one of several offices to receive suspicious mail earlier this week.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office was one of several government offices that received suspicious mail Monday, July 27.

Sheriff Jeff Dickerson confirmed Tuesday that after receiving an alert from the Sheriff's Association about the sheriff in Grant County falling ill after handling what the FBI called a "suspicious letter," one of his employees said the local station received the same letter.

The letter received at the sheriff's station in St. Helens was handed over to the FBI as part of a statewide investigation, Dickerson said.

The letter, which was identical to those sent to offices in 23 other counties, contained “various grievances against the government,” Dickerson said.

“A Portland fire hazmat team came out here and made sure it was safe before they took it," Dickerson said. "They could find no hazardous substances associated with the letter and an FBI agent came and got it.”

The letter was addressed to the Sheriff's Office, not to an inmate.

Dickerson said his office has a protocol for sorting mail addressed to jail inmates, but the suspicious letter was handled by office administrators.

According to the FBI's division in Portland, the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory conducted a preliminary test on a sample of the letters received.

"That preliminary testing showed that there were no biological toxins or powders included in or on the letters and envelopes in question," a news release states.

Tuesday, investigators identified 34-year-old Lance Storm of Eugene as the person who mailed the letters.

Storm was interviewed and said he didn't include any substances with the letters he mailed.

"Storm was very forthcoming and eager to discuss the letters he mailed," the FBI press release stated. Storm told investigators he "never intended to cause alarm," according to the federal agency.

Storm was released after questioning. Investigators said he is not considered a threat to the community and federal charges are not being filed, but reports will be forwarded to several district attorney's offices for consideration of charges, according to the FBI.

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