BURNS, Ore. (KOIN) — Harney County Sheriff David Ward and members of the militia who overtook the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge met Thursday “to discuss a peaceful resolution” to the standoff.
This is the 6th day of the militia’s occupation of the federal facility.
Sheriff David Ward called for the meeting at Narrows-Princeton Road and Lava Bed Road.
The meeting was very brief. Ammon Bundy said to Ward, “We pose no threat to the community whatsoever now. It’s time to get the schools open, let your community get back to living. We do not pose a threat.”
“And that’s what I’m asking for,” Ward responded.
“But that can be done without us leaving,” said Bundy.
During the meeting, the Sheriff asked Bundy to please leave and respect the wishes of Harney County residents. The two sides plan on meeting again Friday.
Governor Kate Brown released a statement while the meeting was happening, saying the protest has become unlawful.
“Those individuals illegally occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge need to decamp immediately and be held accountable.” Governor Kate Brown.
Cheers erupted at a community meeting in Burns when Sheriff Ward said it was time for a small, armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge to “pick up and go home.”
Ward told hundreds of people gathered at the meeting Wednesday evening that the group needed to leave so local people could get back to their lives.
“You’re not invited to come here and bother with our citizens,” Sheriff Ward said. “I don’t believe that just a handful of people have the right to come in from outside of our area and tell us that we don’t know how to live our lives.”
Ammon Bundy has told reporters the group will leave when there’s a plan in place to turn over federal lands to locals.