weather icon Drizzle
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Oregon community meeting on wildlife refuge standoff canceled

A community meeting slated Monday night in Burns, Ore., to discuss the ongoing standoff with an armed militia group occupying a federal wildlife refuge has been canceled over concerns for public safety.

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a militia group led by Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy is entering its fourth week.

The brothers, sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, also were involved in an April 2014 armed standoff near the elder Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville. That confrontation with federal agents who rounded up his cattle over unpaid grazing fees for using public federal lands in Gold Butte ended when federal agents released the cattle.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty announced the community meeting’s cancellation in a Sunday news release. “Preparations to protest and block entrance to the Senior Center have led me to determine that it’s time to take a time out,” the release stated.

The move is prudent, Grasty said in the release, “in order to maintain the safety of our community and everyone in it, and because an open and honest conversation cannot take place in this type of atmosphere. Further, I will not give these agitators what they want most, which is attention.”

The Oregon protest initially began over the case of Oregon ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond.

A jury convicted the Hammonds in 2012 of starting fires on public lands, burning about 140 acres. Federal prosecutors said the fires were set to hide poaching, while the Hammonds, who turned themselves in earlier this month to start five-year federal prison sentences, maintained the fires were set to protect their property from invasive plants and wildfires.

In addition to calling for the Hammonds’ release, protest leaders have said lands under federal control in Harney County must be transferred to locals.

In another development Sunday, Glenn Palmer, the sheriff of nearby Grant County, gave a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive that said “the government is going to have to concede something” to end the occupation. He mentions freeing the Hammonds from prison and sending the FBI home as options, according to the newspaper’s website, OregonLive.



Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Prayers offered as Tyre Nichols protests remain peaceful

Cities nationwide have braced for protests after body camera footage was released Friday showing Memphis officers beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died of his injuries three days after the Jan. 7 attack.

Emails reveal tensions in Colorado River talks

Competing priorities and outsized demands stymied a deal last summer on how to drastically reduce water use from the parched Colorado River.

Police: Oregon torture suspect with ties to Nevada using dating apps

Authorities say a man accused of torturing a woman he held captive in Oregon and who was convicted in Nevada in a similar case is using dating apps to find people who can help him avoid the police.

Protests begin after brutal beating by Memphis police shown on video

The recordings shows police savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes while screaming profanities. The Nichols family legal team has likened the assault to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

Southwest’s holiday cancellations investigated by feds

The federal government is investigating whether Southwest Airlines knowingly scheduling more flights than it could handle in December, when it ended up canceling nearly 17,000 flights.