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Suspicious Powder In Mailroom Causes Evacuation In State Office Building

statesman_journal | April 17, 2013 9:39 a.m. | Updated: April 17, 2013 11:45 a.m. | Salem, Oregon

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Statesman Journal

A portion of the Oregon Department of Revenue building on State Street was evacuated this morning because of a suspicious powdery substance found in the mailing room area around 6:30 a.m.

Statesman Journal photoMembers of the Oregon Army National Guard 102nd Civil Support Team, suits up to help Salem HAZMAT to check out a suspicious substance found in the mailing room of the Oregon Department of Revenue this morning. A portion of the building on Center Street was evacuated this morning around 7 a.m. because of a suspicious powdery substance found in the mailing room area.

Statesman Journal photoMembers of the Oregon Army National Guard 102nd Civil Support Team, suits up to help Salem HAZMAT to check out a suspicious substance found in the mailing room of the Oregon Department of Revenue this morning. A portion of the building on Center Street was evacuated this morning around 7 a.m. because of a suspicious powdery substance found in the mailing room area.

Kobbi R. Blair / Statesman Journal

Employees were allowed access to all floors of the building except the first floor into the building.

Employees were directed to use the stairwell of an adjacent building to get to their offices. They were not being allowed in through the atrium on the ground floor.

Karen Brown, an employee of 11 years, was in the area when another employee was cutting open mail and made contact with a suspicious white powder, Brown said.

“An employee was cutting open mail and powder flew all over him,” she said.

A spokesman for the department told the Statesman Journal newspaper that employees who needed to be isolated due to contact or being in the immediate area were isolated, but none of them had sustained health issues.

The Oregon National Guard has been brought in to assist with some equipment that the Salem Police Department needs in the investigation.

Capitol Street NE is blocked between Center and Marion streets NE.

A HAZMAT truck from the State Fire Marshall is on the scene and Salem Fire made entry into the building. FBI was also on scene.

The building is secured until the substance can be checked for any possible hazard.


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