Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Oregon standoff: Workers find 'mess' left behind by occupiers

Restoring life to normal at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters will require accounting for the most mundane of government property – paperwork. Federal workers last week began inspecting the grounds to find out what the armed protesters had done in 41 days of controlling the compound. They discovered no major damage to buildings so far. They still need to assess ditches and roads carved out by some of the militants. Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe are taking the lead to judge if artifacts or sacred grounds suffered. But it's clear the occupiers helped themselves to file cabinets and desks, rifling through and scattering government files. "Everything got moved," said Chad Karges, refuge manager for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Karges on Tuesday described the scene at the compound in his first detailed accounting since the takeover began Jan. 2. For protection, law enforcement officials spirited Karges out of town shortly after the takeover began. Only a week ago officials judged it safe for him to return home. He's now presiding over what he expects could be a lengthy process to restore the refuge to full public access and operation...more

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