Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Oregon rancher encounters FBI checkpoints, "It felt like a foreign country,”

Rancher Kurt Spencer had an up close and personal encounter with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation situation on Thursday. Spencer, whose beef cattle business is headquartered in the Umpqua area, also owns and works four ranches in Harney and Grant counties. While traveling north in his red pickup between his ranch near Frenchglen at the base of the Steens Mountains and his ranch near Izee in the Ochoco Mountains, Spencer and his wife Veronica traveled through two roadblocks. The checkpoints had been set up by law enforcement officers following the Tuesday shooting of one refuge occupier and the arrest of several others. The rancher, whose Frenchglen ranch is just a half-hour drive south of the refuge headquarters and whose property borders with refuge land, said the stop at the first checkpoint was “scary.” “They were very professional and kind, but when you have guns kind of pointing at you, it is scary,” Spencer said in describing the scene to The News-Review on Friday. “They (officers) were very, very cautious. They asked us to get out and keep our hands free. They were FBI, but they looked like Army personnel. There were snipers around. “It felt like a checkpoint in a foreign country,” he continued. “There was no room for error. They asked for ID and ran our license plate. They asked me if I had a gun and I told them I did and where it was in the rig. I told them to help themselves as far as looking, but they actually barely looked around. I guess they were comfortable with who we were after checking our IDs and plate.” The couple were then allowed to drive on and at the checkpoint north of the refuge, their travel was barely interrupted. They assumed the first checkpoint had called ahead and given them the OK for the northern stop...more

No comments: