Birdwatching couple has chance meeting with wildlife refuge occu - KPTV - FOX 12

Birdwatching couple has chance meeting with wildlife refuge occupiers near Burns

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A Corvallis couple is shedding new light on the armed occupiers in Burns after meeting them by chance earlier this week.

On Tuesday, the very day that one occupier was killed and seven others arrested, the couple happened to be in Burns for some bird watching when they ran into the protesters.

The couple did not want to be identified, but said they were coming back home from Boise when they decided to stop at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to look for bald eagles.

They say there was no law enforcement there, no road blocks and no signs warning about a potentially dangerous situation, so they drove onto the property.

That was when they met several of the armed occupiers.

The couple noted the group was very welcoming and kind, and they said they never felt threatened or uncomfortable talking with them.

One protester even suggested a spot in the area where they might see some eagles.

The pair said they never expected things to come to such a violent head just hours later.

“Every single person there made jokes about coming back in the spring when all the real migratory birds come through,” the man said. “Every single person said, ‘We’re not going to be here by the spring. The United States government and us are going to come to an agreement outside of bloodshed.’ That was the morale there, that it was all going to be ok.”

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