Monday, June 27, 2016

Oregon refuge takeover is over, but aftershocks remain

Winter and spring have passed since an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refugeended, but its aftershocks are still shaking this high desert region of Oregon, with activists setting up “Camp Freedom” where an occupier was killed and organizing a recall election this week against a top county official.  The headquarters of the 188,000-acre Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was occupied for 41 days, is still closed. Down the road, at The Narrows cafe, saloon, shop and gas station, things have settled. Co-owner Linda Gainer said the business she got from journalists, agents, occupiers, protesters against the occupation, and from protesters protesting the protesters, more than made up for any slower days now. The last militants surrendered Feb. 11. “I met some awesome people. And you know, everybody that came through, they were all polite,” she said, describing how even militia members and anti-occupation protesters exchanged greetings. Those divisions are evident in the signs about Tuesday’s special recall election against County Judge Steve Grasty, who for the past 18 years has been the county’s top administrative official. Grasty blocked occupation leader Ammon Bundy from holding a public meeting in a county building, an act cited as justification for the recall effort. Grasty says it was absurd for Bundy, who said he wanted to turn the federal refuge over to local residents, to ask to use county property...more

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