Wednesday, March 30, 2016

‘Ranchers’ Lives Matter’ rally

A group of Wasco County residents joined the national “Ranchers’ Lives Matter” movement Saturday by holding a rally at a local freeway overpass to focus attention on issues brought to light by the recent standoff in Burns. “Free the Hammonds” read one side of a banner mounted on the Exit 82 overpass at the western end of town. The other side said: “Free the Patriots.” Although the number of participants was small, the four individuals received plenty of attention from passing motorists. Some honked their horns and others shouted support out open windows. “What are you guys doing,” asked one woman who stopped on the overpass to snap a quick picture. “We’re here to support the Hammonds, they should not be in jail or prison,” said Linda Pishion, one of the organizers. She was referencing the case involving Dwight Hammond Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Hammond, 46, who are serving time in a California prison after being convicted on arson charges involving fires set on Bureau of Land Management properties. The Hammonds, who live in Diamond and graze cattle on federal lands, argued in court that their prescribed burns, one in 2001 and the other in 2006, were intended to kill invasive weeds and stop lightning-caused fires from spreading out of control...more

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