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Some Oregon Ranchers See Armed Group's Viewpoint, But Standoff Might Not Fix Things

Amanda Peacher
Protesters blocked the entrance to the refuge Sunday, hanging anti-government signs on the fenceposts.

Some southeast Oregon ranchers near Burns can sympathize with the armed group that’s taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ranchers in Harney County said they are frustrated with federal policy that can complicate ranching, logging and farming.

But some families said they hope the armed group will end their occupation without a fight. They believe that there is room for more public discussion about how federal and state lands are managed and how mandates come down that would affect their livelihood.

But they don’t believe guns and violence or any kind of standoff with the federal government is the best approach.

Threatened and endangered species, fire and clean water management policies have been at the center of heated debates for years across the rural Northwest. Although, in the last several years, some Northwest cattle groups have started up new partnerships with government managers to protect waterways, wildlife and ranching.

Visit OPB News for the latest news and updates about the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.