Bundy family members, militia take over Oregon wildlife refuge headquarters

Protesters march on Court Avenue in support of an Oregon ranching family facing jail time for arson. Family members were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. Burns, Oregon., Jan. 2, 2016 | Photo by Les Zaitz of The Oregonian via AP, St. George News
Ammon Bundy addressing the conference as he gave an update of events following the BLM's withdrawal. He also thanked people for their “tremendous outpouring” of support for the Bundy family, Bunkerville, Nev., April 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
File photo: Ammon Bundy addressing the conference as he gave an update of events following the BLM’s withdrawal. He also thanked people for their “tremendous outpouring” of support for the Bundy family, Bunkerville, Nev., April 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

BURNS, Ore. (AP) — A protest in support of Oregon ranchers facing jail time for arson was followed by an occupation of a building at a national wildlife refuge led by members of a family previously involved in a showdown with the federal government.

Ammon Bundy — the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights — told The Oregonian on Saturday that he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Ammon Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for militia members to come help him. He said “this is not a time to stand down. It’s a time to stand up and come to Harney County,” where Burns is located. Below the video is this statement: “(asterisk)(asterisk)ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.”

In an interview with reporters late Saturday night that was posted on Facebook, Bundysaid he and others are occupying the building because “the people have been abused long enough.”

“I feel we are in a situation where if we do not do something, if we do not take a hard stand, we’ll be in a position where we’ll be no longer able to do so,” he said.

Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely.

“We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,” Ammon Bundy said. “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward told people to stay away from the building as authorities work to defuse the situation, the Oregonian reported.

A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution. For the time being please stay away from that area. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please maintain a peaceful and united front and allow us to work through this situation,” Ward said in a statement.

An Idaho militia leader who helped organize the earlier march said he knew nothing about activities after a parade of militia members and local residents in Burns walked past the sheriff’s office and the home of Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven.

Ammon Bundy’s father, Cliven Bundy, told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Saturday night that he had nothing to do with the takeover of the building.

Bundy said his son felt obligated to intervene on behalf of the Hammonds.

“That’s not exactly what I thought should happen, but I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “You know, if the Hammonds wouldn’t stand, if the sheriff didn’t stand, then, you know, the people had to do something. And I guess this is what they did decide to do. I wasn’t in on that.”

His son Ammon told him they are committed to staying in the building, Cliven Bundytold Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“He told me that they were there for the long run. I guess they figured they’re going to be there for whatever time it takes_and I don’t know what that means,” Cliven Bundysaid. “I asked him, ‘Well how long can ya, how long you going to stand out there?’ He just told me it was for long term.”

Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman in Portland, told The Associated Press the agency was aware of the situation at the national wildlife refuge. She made no further comment.

Some local residents feared the Saturday rally would involve more than speeches, flags and marching. But the only real additions to that list seemed to be songs, flowers and pennies.

As marchers reached the courthouse, they tossed hundreds of pennies at the locked door. Their message: civilians were buying back their government. After the march passed, two girls swooped in to scavenge the pennies.

A few blocks away, Hammond and his wife, Susan, greeted marchers, who planted flower bouquets in the snow. They sang some songs, Hammond said a few words, and the protesters marched back to their cars.

Dwight Hammond has said he and his son plan to peacefully report to prison Jan. 4 as ordered by the judge.

Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.

The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time — the father three months, the son one year. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.

The decision has generated controversy in a remote part of the state.

In particular, the Hammonds’ new sentences touched a nerve with far right groups who repudiate federal authority.

Ammon Bundy and a handful of militiamen from other states arrived last month in Burns, some 60 miles from the Hammond ranch.

In an email to supporters, Ammon Bundy criticized the U.S. government for a failed legal process.

Information from: The Oregonian.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Resources

For background on the original arson convictions, see here.

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48 Comments

  • Bender January 3, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Salt of the earth, these protesters. All they want is the gubment to give them special treatment and deed over to them the land that belongs to all of us. Try to enforce the law on them and they’ll go postal with their assault weapons, mowing down fathers, sons and brothers who have sworn an allegiance to the law of the land. The batch of protesters the Bundy’s attracted to their last circus, in Mesquite, included a couple of cold blooded cop killers. These good ole boys are just welfare queens in cowboy hats and fatigues looking for a handout.

    • BIG GUY January 3, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Amen. We are a country of laws. “Taking back the government” is done at the ballot box, not by armed protest.

      • Rainbow Dash January 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm

        I second that BIG GUY.

    • Tyson January 3, 2016 at 8:41 am

      You’re clueless. They have had that land for generations before the blm even was created. Do some research before you open your liberal mouth. Lets take your families land they tamed with blood sweat and tears and give it to all of you ignorant democrats

      • Chris January 3, 2016 at 3:15 pm

        You are clearly the clueless one. The land in question has been owned by the federal government as long as it has been part of the U.S. It was never privately owned by any American. The creation date of the BLM is completely irrelevant to the ownership of this land. Revocation of grazing privileges is completely within the rights of any landowner. Maybe you should do some actual research instead of repeating the crap you read on crackpot websites.

      • Rainbow Dash January 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        Wow. Tyson yopu are completely wrong. The U.S Government has owned the land since 1848 with the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. I’ll post a few links to back that up but I’m pretty sure you won’t check them out because they go against the Youtube comments of internet “patriots”, Keyboard warriors and other “Conservatives” like yourself.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Guadalupe_Hidalgo

        https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/guadalupe-hidalgo/

        http://www.history.com/topics/treaty-of-guadalupe-hidalgo

        http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/ghtreaty/

      • Accountable January 3, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        The Hammond’s have been unjustly persecuted for many years by our government — BLM specifically — in order to steal their land. As Tyson has stated, DO YOUR RESEARCH before opening your uninformed liberal yaps. This is a concise record of the Hammond’s trials and tribulations (which have no correlation to the Bundy’s problems):

        http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/01/03/full-story-on-whats-going-on-in-oregon-militia-take-over-malheur-national-wildlife-refuge-in-protest-to-hammond-family-persecution/

        • Chris January 4, 2016 at 7:17 am

          If that’s your idea of research, you are not much of an intellect. Your link is, in no way, a “concise” record of this matter. It is, rather, a completely one sided account of a complex and controversial trial with absolutely no citations of sources. Try reading the complete trial record, accessible to anyone online, to get the real story. The Hammonds are criminals, plain and simple. You obviously have no respect for the rule of law, but would rather that hooligans like the Bundys decide what is right or wrong.

        • Rainbow Dash January 4, 2016 at 7:52 am

          Accountable, No one with any intelligence what so ever believes anything published by tyeconservativetreehouse.com. No one. The Hammonds did wrong and are willing to own up to it and do their time like honorable men. They have stated repeatedly that they want NOTHING TO DO with the #yallquaeda terrorists that have occupied that building. The Hammonds have said that they will surrender themselves today and I hope they live up to their word.

        • Mean Momma January 4, 2016 at 9:38 am

          Theconsevativetreehouse.com?… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That is hilarious! Thank you for the laugh!

        • Accountable January 4, 2016 at 9:47 am

          I posted the link as a concise roundup of the “other side” of the argument which hasn’t been represented in this article or in the comments. Intelligent people research all sides of an issue before coming to a decision.

        • Accountable January 4, 2016 at 10:16 am

          The government charged Hammonds as TERRORISTS, imprisoned them, and fined them $440,000 for causing fires on open land. The Hammonds served their time and paid their fines.

          The government’s actions in targeting this family are outrageous when it continues to ALLOW true terrorists — Black Lives Matter and their ilk — to destroy innocent people’s lives and property as well as that of our towns and cities with impunity. I challenge you to name even one of those thugs that the government has charged, imprisoned, and made to pay restitution for the destruction they have caused.

    • .... January 3, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Yep !

    • makkie January 3, 2016 at 10:09 am

      So…benderover.I have a question for you.You obviously don’t like people on welfare.You obviously don’t like protesters.
      You obviously don’t like people standing up to “gubment”tyranny.
      You vote for obama?
      You a liberal?
      You must surely have a problem with the ferguson riots then,correct?
      You must surely have a problem with half his voter base being on welfare,correct?
      You must surely have a problem with illegals protesting and burning our flag,correct?
      You must surely have a problem with the democrat candidates promising even more handouts(free college),correct?
      Of course you do ,otherwise you would be a hypocrite,oh wait,you are a liberal they are one and the same………..

      • Bender January 3, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        I think we found a Donald Trump supporter.

        • tcrider January 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm

          looks like someone missed the bundy bus

  • Terry January 3, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Everyone??. Oregon Bound✌?️?

  • Terry January 3, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Take Back the West at the very Least, make your Stand, we are s, o so tired of Gov …. Gotta Stand with The People, it’s the only way to change this type of Gov Policing.
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • native born new mexican January 3, 2016 at 7:43 am

      I agree with you Terry. We all have to find our way to stand up and say enough. I hope the GOVERNMENT does not escalate this Oregon situation into violence. The Hammonds absolutely should not be going to prison. When are the EPA officials who poisoned the creeks and rivers in the four corners going to federal prison and paying a big fine? When are the forest service and BLM types who repeatedly set control burns that get out of control ( I know about some of those personally) going to federal prison???

      • Chris January 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        When are you leaving to go support the Bundy’s? Oh, that’s right. You are just about talk not action.

        • .... January 3, 2016 at 5:01 pm

          Yep !

        • Rainbow Dash January 3, 2016 at 5:13 pm

          Native’s not going anywhere, he’s a coward. Oh sure he talks a big talk but lets be honest, he doesn’t even have the guts to back up the statements he makes using a pseudonym on the internet.

          • Chris January 4, 2016 at 7:18 am

            I am pretty sure that “native” is a “she.”

      • 42214 January 3, 2016 at 4:17 pm

        Oh goodie, someone woke up Native Born dip stick.

      • anybody home January 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        The Hammonds have acknowledged they did the wrong thing and are willing to return to serve out the correct sentence. It’s nobody else’s business, particularly the Bundy boys and Capt. Moroni and this mob. The mob does NOT speak for the Hammonds, they’re just using them. Get a grip.

  • .... January 3, 2016 at 6:53 am

    I heard mesaman went up there. that’s what I heard anyways

    • Chris January 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Turns out he decided to take a nap instead.

      • .... January 3, 2016 at 9:26 pm

        Yeah I found out he had to stay up past noon..and that was to much for him. Obamacare doesn’t pay for his Geritol

  • tcrider January 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

    bundy boyz is gona end up in the big house this time, get em berry get em.
    these idiots could end up on the short end of the schtick this time.

  • tcrider January 3, 2016 at 9:54 am

    If the land was going to be turned over to any one people, it should be divided amongst the people it was stolen from in the first place, all the bands from the nez purse to the navajoes and apaches.
    I would rather see the red man have it than some self righteous idiotic bumbling moronic bundy idiots.

    • ladybugavenger January 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Amen!

      • .... January 5, 2016 at 4:33 am

        I Just ordered my ladybug ‘AMEN’ T Shirt go to # buymyshirtorIwillpokeyouintheyewithasharpstick

  • beacon January 3, 2016 at 10:09 am

    I guess we should all be able to start fires wherever we want whether we have the skills to control those fires and prevent other people’s property from being impacted? Perhaps these guys could have taken action other than starting a fire – such as clearing their property of combustibles – rather than doing something that would land them in jail and that now brings the whackos out of the woodwork to support their feeble actions. Looks like some people need to get some more productive interests in their lives.

  • anybody home January 3, 2016 at 11:07 am

    I am a fifth-generation native Oregonian, born into a pioneer family in eastern Oregon. I can tell you for sure that the Hammonds’ response to go peacefully tomorrow to serve the appointed term is the Oregon way.

    Bundy and his yahoo gang who want to “stand” for the Hammonds are proving themselves to be the idiot law-breakers they are. They are not standing for the Hammonds. They are standing for their own complaints against the government and to try to prove that they’re right in Utah and Nevada. It’s crackpot behavior.

    I know a number of Oregonian ranchers and others who use federal land. They may have their complaints from time to time, but they are not going to go all raving maniac whiners like the Bundys and his cohort. “Take back the west,” my rear end. These are vandals who don’t know how to legitimately work to solve problems.

    Hammond is a stand-up guy who admits he did the wrong thing and is willing to do what he has to do about that.

    Yahoo Bundy is 180 degrees from a “stand-up” guy. He’s a troublemaker who has taken his argument to a beautiful and reasonable state. Maybe he’ll learn something although it’s unlikely. Troublemakers and whiners just like to make trouble and whine.

  • voice of reason January 3, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    These people deserve to be in jail. The entire Bundy clan ought to be in Federal prison.

    • mesaman January 3, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      voice of treason, perhaps you can explain the procedure used to indict and convict the “entire” Bundy clan? Then perhaps you can define and list the acts committed by the “entire” Bundy clan that would cause them to be indicted. You and the rest of the wacko leftists need to start by justifying all the lies and blunders Hildebeast, the wicked witch of the south, has caused in her tenure as secretary of state, such as Travelgate and Filegate, and as one involved in questionable implications in the White Water scandal in Arkansas.

      • Chris January 4, 2016 at 7:21 am

        Nolan, the lifetime government worker, wades into the fray.

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 3, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    after we get rid of the illegals there’ll be plenty of land for everyone. TRUMP 2016!!!

    • ladybugavenger January 3, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      Trump for President!

  • .... January 4, 2016 at 5:54 am

    TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT

  • .... January 4, 2016 at 5:55 am

    PUTIN FOR VICE-PRESIDENT

  • 42214 January 4, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Mesaman for Quorum of the 12, he will be old enough in a few years. He’s already dumb enough.

    • .... January 4, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Phewww that was close 422 you could of been edited for saying stupid instead of dumb ! LOL

  • ladybugavenger January 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    It does suck that after you’ve been sentenced and did your time that the court says oooopsie we didn’t give you enough time…um sorry we meant to give you 4 more years….

  • .... January 5, 2016 at 4:37 am

    I got a good deal on 2 packages of crew socks 2 packages for $3.99

  • .... January 5, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Bundy did say something I agree with > ……………………………………..
    …………………………………………………
    …………………………………………………
    …………………………………………………
    …………………………………………………

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