Group aims to turn Malheur occupation against itself

G.O.H.O.M.E. raising money in protest of the Malheur occupiers

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., is seen from atop an old fire lookout on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., is seen from atop an old fire lookout on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

BURNS, Ore. (KOIN) — As the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover enters its second week, a new voice is emerging in protest of the protesters.

The group Getting Occupiers of the Historic Oregon Malheur Evicted (G.O.H.O.M.E.) is working to “turn the refuge occupation against itself”.

Brothers Zach and Jake Klonoski launched the group’s fundraising efforts on Sunday morning.

By 5:45 p.m. Monday, the group received $30,000 in pledges.

“We thought, let’s create this vehicle so Oregonians can step up with one collective voice and say that we don’t support this, we want them to leave,” Zach Klonoski told KOIN 6 News.

Zach Klonoski and his brother Jake launched G.O.H.O.M.E. in an effort to turn the Malheur occupation against itself. (KOIN)
Zach Klonoski and his brother Jake launched G.O.H.O.M.E. in an effort to turn the Malheur occupation against itself. (KOIN)

The Klonoski brothers say they’re frustrated by what’s going on at the refuge, and figure there are thousands of Oregonians who would also like to express their opposition in a “peaceful, meaningful way”.

G.O.H.O.M.E. will continue to raise money in protest of the protesters every day the armed group remains at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

The funds will go to 4 different organizations: Burns’ Paiute Tribe, Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Malheur National Wildlife refuge itself.

“These people came in heavily armed… we feel that they are likely not in support of gun reform. So we thought [Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions] would be a good organization to choose,” Klonoski explained.

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks and researches extremist groups all around the U.S., which the occupiers qualify as.

“Every day that they stay, they’re funding the very groups that fight against their actions,” Klonoski explained. “The longer they stay there, the more funds are contributed to groups that are really antithetical to the occupiers’ goals.”

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On Saturday, members of the militia clashed with environmentalists from the Center for Biological Diversity. In the midst of the chaos, birder Cody Martz held a sign that said “Bundy, it’s time to migrate… Floccupy” Malheur.

“This is a really important Native American cultural site to the Paiute and they are cutting roads, cutting fences,” Martz said. “They need to recognize the financial importance of birders and outdoor recreationalists on the refuge and here in Harney County.”

Some are accusing the militants of building a new road without public consent.

KOIN 6 News visited the property on Sunday and, while occupiers declined to point out the new road, there was visibly disturbed earth near the volunteer quarters. There was also what appeared to be a chopped up fence and a pile of black stone.

One man said the militants graded roads and spread black stone, but called the new road “mythical”.