Oregon officials respond as wildlife refuge occupation comes to - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon officials respond as wildlife refuge occupation comes to an end

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Oregon State Police vehicles arrive at Malheur Nat'l Wildlife Refuge Thursday (Photo: KPTV) Oregon State Police vehicles arrive at Malheur Nat'l Wildlife Refuge Thursday (Photo: KPTV)

State officials expressed their relief Thursday that the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge had come to an end after 41 days.

The last four holdouts at the refuge surrendered to law enforcement Thursday morning. According to the FBI, all four were arrested without injury and without shots fired.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown posted on Twitter that she was "relieved this ordeal is over."

Oregon's U.S. senators released similar statements.

Sen. Jeff Merkley similarly expressed relief and pledged his support to Harney County moving forward:

“I am relieved that this unlawful standoff has finally come to an end. This situation has put incredible emotional and financial strain on the Harney County community, and now we all must come together to support them as they heal. I thank the law enforcement officers who worked to ensure that the rest of the occupiers left peacefully, and I stand ready to partner with Senator Wyden, Governor Brown and others to provide whatever support we can to the Harney community as they recover and move forward.”

Sen. Ron Wyden echoed his colleague's sentiments:

“Oregonians across our state are grateful to the Harney County Sheriff’s Department, federal law enforcement, and local and state officials for ending this standoff without additional loss of life. The steady resolve of the Burns community and Harney County leaders like County Judge Steve Grasty and Sheriff Dave Ward have kept this sad episode from sparking something much worse.

Now that the shadow of violence is lifting from Harney County, Oregonians can return to what we do best -- building common ground for real success on the challenges facing our state.”

Rep. Greg Walden, who represents Oregon's 2nd Congressional District, including Harney County, said he is glad the occupation is over, but there is a lot of work to do to address the concerns of rural Oregonians:

“We can all be grateful that today has ended peacefully, and that this situation is finally over. Now, life in Harney County can begin to return to normal and the community can begin the long process of healing. I will continue working to solve the underlying issues that have caused so much frustration in rural communities. We need meaningful changes to federal forest and land management policies, and we need to foster a more cooperative spirit between the federal agencies and the people who call areas like Harney County home.”

The four militants arrested Thursday are scheduled to appear in court in Portland on Friday.

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