Ammon Bundy met with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward on Thursday, January 7, to discuss the end of the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Law enforcement officials are hoping the talks will lead to a peaceful end to the occupation just south of Burns, Oregon. Despite the peace talks, it looks like Ammon Bundy's meeting with the sheriff may have been for naught. Bundy and the rest of the protestors are planning to continue their occupation until their conditions are met or the group is forced out.
The sheriff showed up to meet with Bundy, flanked by two other sheriffs for the risky face-to-face meeting out in the open where a back road to the wildlife refuge meets a state highway. Ammon Bundy and Sheriff Ward spoke for five-to-10 minutes. During that time, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward tried to reason with Bundy and facilitate the group's surrender of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
"I'm here to offer safe escort out," Ward told Ammon Bundy. "Go back and kick it around with your folks."
Sheriff Ward plans to call Bundy on Friday to see where the militant group stands. If there is no plan to peacefully end the standoff, law enforcement might be forced to raid the building and remove Ammon Bundy and the rest of the protesters.
Ammon Bundy has no plans to surrender on Friday as Sheriff Ward is hoping. The rancher-turned-outlaw talked to reporters after the meeting with the Harney County Sheriff.
"Until we can see that there is a great momentum and the people can get doing that themselves, then we will remain," Bundy said. "That could be a week, that could be a year." Oregon Live reported that despite Ammon Bundy's previous plea for snacks and other supplies, the group plans to remain on refuge land and will not be surrendering on Friday.
The meeting between Sheriff Ward and Ammon Bundy came after a Wednesday night town hall meeting in Burns. Roughly 400 people showed up to the meeting and many urged the sheriff to remove protestors from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Residents of the rural Oregon county made it clear to law enforcement that they want Ammon Bundy and the rest of the protestors removed from the wildlife refuge headquarters. Very few residents of Harney County are supportive of Ammon Bundy and the rest of the group occupying the building and have made it clear that they want the group to leave.
Ammon Bundy and nearly 20 other armed militants showed up to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday and took over the building. More protestors have trickled in to support the Bundys' cause in the days since their occupation and many are wondering when it will end. According to The Conservative Treehouse, there are between 100 and 150 protestors at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge since news of the takeover.
So far, Ammon Bundy and his armed group of protestors have not been stopped from their takeover at the wildlife refuge. They have been allowed to come and go freely, often sending runners to Burns for supplies. Ammon Bundy has also been holding daily press conferences to speak out about why they are there. Additionally, those in support of the government land protest have been asked to send supplies and snacks to Ammon Bundy and the rest of his militant group, who have no plans to stand down anytime soon.
Ammon Bundy and his handful of law-breaking protesters took over the headquarters at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge on Saturday in protest of the prison sentences for two local ranchers. Ammon and a handful of others were upset after two members of the Hammond family were sent to prison for burning down the federal land. Dwight Hammond, and his son, Steven, reported to prison to serve five-year sentences for terrorism after setting fire to their own land in protest of a government order and incidentally that fire burned into the wildlife refuge.
No agreement was reached between Ammon Bundy and Sheriff Ward during their brief meeting near the wildlife refuge. Ammon and his group plan to stay holed up and are making plans for multiple possible outcomes. The group led by Ammon Bundy says they intend to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters until jurisdiction of the federal land is put back under the control of the county.