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FBI investigating election threats in Oregon

Lane County's Election Office front doors
Rebecca Hansen-White
Lane County election workers were evacuated Wednesday after discovering a suspicious envelope.

An investigation is underway after a suspicious piece of mail temporarily shut down the Lane County Elections Office Wednesday.

Election workers were evacuated after an employee discovered a suspicious envelope.

Lane County spokesperson Devon Ashbridge said no election employees have reported any health impacts, and the office has re-opened and resumed counting ballots from the Nov. 7 election.

"This was an attempt to not only terrorize the people that work in this building, but also to disrupt the Democratic process,” Ashbridge said. “That's reprehensible on so many levels, so we're hoping to see some accountability."

The incident came the same day election offices were evacuated across Washington after receiving envelopes containing white powder.

The Eugene Police Department has referred the case to the FBI.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed to KLCC that the agency’s Portland office is investigating a number of suspicious letters sent to Oregon election offices.

The agency declined to provide further comment on the ongoing investigation, but urged the public to be wary of mail from people they don’t know and always contact law enforcement if they see something suspicious.

Ashbridge said the county is reviewing its mail handling protocol and working to enhance security ahead of the 2024 election. She also urged the public to be considerate of local election workers, who have experienced increasing levels of harassment and threats over the last several years.

“Our job at Lane County is to do everything we can to keep the people conducting our elections safe,” she said. “We hope Lane County voters continue to show up, and vote, and if they do have business to conduct at our elections office, that they do so with courtesy, with respect and with kindness.”

Rebecca Hansen-White joined the KLCC News Department in November, 2023. Her journalism career has included stops at Spokane Public Radio, The Spokesman-Review, and The Columbia Basin Herald.