The Latest: State lawmaker meets with armed Oregon group
Jan. 10, 2016
BURNS, Ore. (AP) — The latest on an armed group that took over federal buildings at an Oregon wildlife refuge (all times local):
An Oregon state legislator has met with the armed group occupying a national wildlife area to protest federal land policies.
The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1kYvDYV ) reports that Rep. Dallas Heard, a Republican from Roseburg, talked with the group Saturday at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon's high desert country. Heard's legislative district is in western Oregon, outside the area where the standoff is occurring.
Rep. Cliff Bentz, the Republican state representative whose district includes the wildlife refuge, says he told Heard not to come because it would be "inappropriate." Harney County Judge Steven Grasty, another local official, says he too advised Bentz against the visit. Grasty says Bentz and five other out-of-state elected officials from Washington, Idaho and Nevada accompanied Heard.
It wasn't clear who the other elected officials were. Heard did not return a call Sunday from The Associated Press.
One of the members of the group at the refuge, Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum, told reporters Sunday morning that the meeting with lawmakers occurred but wouldn't identify any of the participants.
The occupation of a national wildlife area by a small, armed group upset over federal land policies stretched into its second week.
The mother of the group's leader asked supporters to send supplies — everything from warm blankets to coffee creamer.
The group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon's high desert country on Jan. 2 planned no media briefings on Sunday.
The leader of the occupation, Ammon Bundy, has repeatedly rejected calls to leave buildings at the refuge despite pleas from the county sheriff, from many local residents and from Oregon's governor, among others. He has said the group will leave when there is a plan to transfer control of federal land to locals.
On Saturday, Ammon Bundy's mother, Carol Bundy, sent an email to supporters asking them to send her son's group things like sleeping bags, wool socks, cigarettes, toiletries, food, coffee and "French Vanilla Creamer."