Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Rick Bowmer / AP

Leaders of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon were driving to a public meeting a year ago when police shot and killed one of them at a roadblock.

Now, LaVoy Finicum's widow and their children are planning to hold that meeting later this month in the same town, John Day. Speakers are slated to talk about the Constitution, property rights and other issues.

Andrew Selsky / AP Images

Earlier this week, President Obama created two national monuments. The newly preserved land is in Utah and Nevada. But before the transfer of power to President-elect Trump January 20, Obama could also designate 2.5 million acres of land near the Idaho border. 

 

Amelia Templeton / OPB

As we approach the anniversary of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, some of the people involved still face charges.

It was Monday January 2, 2016 when an armed group of protestors took over the refuge. Led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the occupiers were protesting the jailing of two ranchers and wanted the government to turn over public lands to local control.

AP

Federal prosecutors want a judge in Nevada to schedule a trio of trials for the 17 defendants jailed on charges stemming from an armed confrontation in April 2014 with U.S. officials over grazing rights near cattleman Cliven Bundy's ranch.

But Bundy and his attorney call in documents filed Wednesday for all the defendants to be tried together.

Otherwise, the defendants who are required to wait will spend more months behind bars without a chance to prove their innocence, Bundy attorney Bret Whipple said in the request to Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro.

Amelia Templeton / OPB

The leaders of an armed group that took over a national wildlife refuge in rural Oregon have been found not guilty of conspiracy and possession of firearms at a federal facility.

A jury on Thursday exonerated brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five others of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Some of the defendants also were charged with possession of firearms at a federal facility and were acquitted on that count as well.

An Oregon man who was arrested after authorities found a machine gun in his trailer is seeking to be released while he awaits trial on federal weapons charges.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Michael Emry's attorney filed a motion Friday in federal court in Eugene seeking his release.

The FBI took him into custody in May in John Day, Oregon. FBI and ATF agents searched Emry's trailer, which was serving as his home, and found the weapon.

Deschutes County Jail

A self-styled journalist who traveled to Oregon in early January to spread the message of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers is facing federal weapons charges in Grant County.

But a man associated with a recovered machine gun says he was surprised to see the weapon turn up in a federal investigation, noting that federal agents hadn’t contacted him before or after the arrest.

Courtesy of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

One of the defendants in the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year has apologized for video rants he made that were widely seen during the standoff.

Sean Anderson, 47, told a federal judge Wednesday he was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" by the videos from the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In one Anderson told supporters if police stopped them on their way to the refuge they should "kill them."

Department of Interior

In an address at the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C., Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stressed the need for what she characterized as a "major course correction" in conservation. Despite her location at the nation's capital, the majority of her comments were about places thousands of miles away. 

Amelia Templeton / OPB

Law enforcement says Oregon State Police officers were justified in the shooting death of one of the militants from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said at a morning press conference Tuesday that Oregon State Police officers fired six shots on January 26th. Three of the shots hit and killed Robert LaVoy Finicum.

41 Days: A Documentary

Mar 3, 2016
Dave Blanchard / OPB

In early January, armed occupiers took over a national wildlife refuge in rural Oregon. They said they weren't leaving until two local ranchers who had set fires on federal property were released from prison, and until the federal government handed its lands over to local residents.

Militants from all over the country answered the call of the occupiers to stand against what they saw as federal tyranny. The weeks that followed captured the attention of the nation and ripped the local community apart.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Sean and Sandy Anderson of Riggins, Idaho, made some poor choices when they joined the occupiers at a wildlife refuge in Oregon, but they did nothing wrong.

That's the opinion of Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings.

Even though the couple posted videos and social media messages urging violence against the government, the sheriff says they were only exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

Giddings told The Lewiston Tribune Thursday that the Andersons got swept up in the emotions of the moment.

Headwaters Economics

Between 1970-2014, rural counties with a lot of federal lands did better financially than those without as much federal control. That’s according to a new study by Headwaters Economics, a non-partisan think tank based in Montana.

Economist Megan Lawson led the study which drew averages from around the West. She says federal lands aren't necessarily the reason why those rural counties were better off, but that having federal land doesn't automatically spell economic ruin.

After 41 days, an armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge came to a conclusion Thursday morning. The four remaining militants at the refuge surrendered to federal authorities.

Amelia Templeton / OPB

Oregon conservation groups say volunteers are lining up to help reverse damage done to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the ongoing occupation.  

At the end of January, the Oregon Natural Desert Association put out a call for volunteers interested in doing environmental restoration at the refuge after the occupation is over. In just a week, more than 600 people from all over the Northwest have signed up.  

Malheur Refuge Occupiers Go Silent

Feb 1, 2016
Bradley Parks / OPB

Update: 9:44 a.m. Monday - Lawyers for the leader of the armed standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge have appealed a judge's decision to keep him in jail pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said Ammon Bundy presents a danger to the community and the Idaho resident might fail to return for future court proceedings.

Bundy's lawyers said in documents filed Sunday that their client should be released with a GPS monitoring device and orders he not leave Idaho except for court appearances.

Twitter

Ammon Bundy and his armed followers made ample use of social media while occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge, and federal officials are using those posts, videos and photos to build the case against them.

Two criminal complaints show that federal authorities have carefully scrutinized the group's social media postings and video interviews.

A day after the Jan. 2 occupation began, Bundy posted a video saying the group planned to stay for several years and calling on "people to come out here and stand" and "we need you to bring your arms."

Update: 8:00 a.m. Friday - A federal judge says she will not release any of the people arrested in the standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge while the occupation continues.

The Oregonian reports U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman made the comments Thursday during an initial court appearance in Portland for three of the 11 people arrested. The FBI said four people remained at the site late Thursday.

FBI Says Standoff Continues, Releases Video Of Finicum Death

Jan 29, 2016
FBI / YouTube

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. Friday - OPB obtained audio of a conversation Friday morning from one of the four remaining occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

The remaining militants inside are David Fry of Blanchester, Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Wisconsin, and Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada.

During the conversation, Sean Anderson said the group is not going to negotiate with the FBI at this time, and they are prepared to wait until all their supplies are depleted.

Amanda Peacher / OPB

Update: 3:00 p.m. -  Law enforcement officers have driven a large convoy of vehicles into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Four vehicles were seen leaving the refuge toward Burns shortly after entering. 

It’s unclear if the remaining four militants at the refuge have surrendered. But earlier today, two of them said they were willing to end the occupation if they could avoid charges.

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