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Burns-Area Residents Call For Kindness With One Another

Anna King
Northwest News Network
John McLean and more than 300 people showed up for a community meeting in Burns, Oregon, Monday night to discuss the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by an armed group.

At a community meeting Monday night, Harney County Sheriff David Ward once again called for the Bundy brothers and their group to depart in peace. He said more than a week’s occupation of the east Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge needs to end now.

Burns residents packed in hip to hip. Anger, frustration and sadness spilled out from shaky voices. A 15-year-old Burns girl cried she was afraid in school. But two Burns residents just a few seats apart had very different views on what should happen next.

John McLean said he sides with the occupiers. He said on Facebook and around town that’s tough on some of his friendships and “causes a little friction in there.”

Verna Pettyjohn disagreed.

“We have children, grandchildren up in here and what is happening is not alright,” she said.

Several residents publicly asked their neighbors to put their guns away when in town. Others called for kindness with each other.

Harney County officials say they’ll hold a community meeting every Monday until the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ends.

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.