Oregon Gov: Time for Feds to End Occupation
Occupiers say gov't will never get wildlife refuge back
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 21, 2016 3:27 AM CST
A woman holds a sign during a rally Tuesday against the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by Ammon Bundy and his armed followers in Eugene, Ore.   (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via AP)
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(Newser) – Oregon's governor says she's frustrated with the way federal authorities are handling an armed group's continued occupation of a national wildlife refuge and that it's time to end it. Exasperated by a tense situation that has caused fear among some southeastern Oregon residents since it began Jan. 2, Gov. Kate Brown said at a news conference Wednesday that federal officials "must move quickly to end the occupation and hold all of the wrongdoers accountable." "The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and underserved by federal officials' response thus far," Brown said. "I have conveyed these very grave concerns directly to our leaders at the highest levels of our government."

The Democratic governor said the occupation has cost Oregon taxpayers nearly half a million dollars. "We'll be asking federal officials to reimburse the state for these costs," she said. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers have been sent to the remote area but so far have avoided doing anything that might provoke a confrontation. LaVoy Finicum, a spokesman for the armed group, tells Oregon Public Broadcasting that they have "no plans to leave." "We are very strong, very firm. This facility will not go back to the federal government, ever," he says. (Last week, an occupier was arrested after allegedly driving to a supermarket in a federal vehicle stolen from the refuge.)