Oregon Standoff Ending? Oregon Militia Schedules Press Conference For Friday

The Oregon occupiers may soon be leaving the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge center where they have chosen to take a stand against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 11 days ago. Ammon Bundy and the other members of the “Oregon militia” have planned a community meeting for Friday to announce when the group plans to leave the premises.

The possible end to the Oregon standoff that was initiated, at least in part, to highlight the plight of rancher Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, was announced by Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum. The wildlife refuge occupier said that during the Friday community meeting and press conference, the group will explain why they chose to take control of the wildlife refuge and to discuss when they will be leaving.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, were sent to prison for one year after they were indicted on federal arson charges. The men had initiated a controlled burn to remove underbrush close to their ranch to protect it from possibly being engulfed by the wildfires which plague the West every summer. The ranchers served their time and went back to raising livestock to fulfill the beef desires of hungry Americans, until a judge determined they had not spent enough time behind bars and sent them back to prison. Federal minimum sentencing guidelines for the crime they were convicted of mandate a five-year prison term.

The ranchers angry about the BLM management and federal ownership of about 50 percent of the land in the West might say they are leaving this weekend, or announce that they will not depart until the possession of public land by the federal government is reviewed by the justice system.

Ammon Bundy is the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The elder rancher captured nationwide attention last year when he and a host of armed supporters engaged in a standoff with BLM agents. Like many ranchers in the West, Bundy was upset about a lack of access and enhanced restrictions on the use of public land that has been utilized for livestock cultivation for generations.

The Oregon militia community and media event is slated to take place at 7 p.m. at a location which has currently not been established, according to KTVZ-TV News.

“I think there should be a dialogue,” Finicum said when alerting the media about the event to take place in Burns, Oregon, on Friday, the Oregonian reports.

Harney County Sheriff David Ward been urging the Oregon militia to vacate the Malheur National Wildlife Center since the day the men arrived.

“There is an hourglass and the fact is that time is running out,” Sheriff Ward told the media when referencing the need for the Oregon militia to vacate the wildlife refuge.

The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom group engaged in the standoff have renamed the federal center the Harney County Resource Center to draw attention to their desire to have public lands removed from federal control and be placed under localized supervision.

An ongoing battle between the BLM and ranchers and mining operators have been going on for several years. Protests to prevent the restriction of use on public lands have occurred in multiple states in just the past two years.

What do you think about the Oregon militia standoff at the wildlife center in Burns? Should the federal government own such a large portion of land and restrict use of ranchers who depend upon the extra land for the grazing and watering of livestock?

[Image via AP Photo/Rick Bowmer]