#OregonStandoff: it’s far from over

Scroll down for details on local actions on Saturday, Jan 30th & Sunday, Jan. 31st

Friday, January 29, 2016

As I write this, four people continue to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, one of the leaders of the occupation is dead, and a call to action has been issued by the Pacific Patriots Network for “patriots” and paramilitary groups to descend on Burns immediately.

At last night’s press conference, the FBI did not mince words: the occupation is not over. Leadership from paramilitary groups across the Northwest have declared “there will be no free Wacos” and have called for thousands to converge in Burns to avenge the death of Robert “Lavoy” Finicum:

“This operation will demand the following:

  • Immediate detention by Oregon State Police of the FBI special agent in charge along with all agents and LEO involved in the shooting death of Lavoy Finicum. A first hand eyewitness account presents reasonable cause for arrest while the investigation takes place.
  • Immediate removal of all militarized FBI personnel and equipment from Harney County. All State and County Law Enforcement officers are not included and requested to stay and assist in the process to keep the peace.
  • Immediate resignation of Judge Steve Grasty, Sheriff David Ward, County commissioner Pete Runnels, and County commissioner Dan Nichols.

In order to successfully accomplish our mission, we will need any and all Americans to PEACEFULLY

assemble within Burns, Oregon immediately. The success of this mission depends fully on the number of people that will come to PEACEFULLY stand and demand the items above be initiated.

A letter of intent will be legally served on the FBI special agent in charge at the time of Lavoy Finicum’s death, Judge Steven Grasty, Sheriff David Ward, Dan Nichols and Pete Runnels by January 29th, 2016. We will request to escort the FBI presence out of the State of Oregon and once complete, the attention will return to the resignation of the County elected officials.”

The good people of Harney County and the Burns Paiute Tribe are exhausted, exasperated, and hungry for peace so they can begin to rebuild their community. The occupation is in its 28th day, and the idea of another round of militia mobilization has locals feeling scared, angry, and invaded all over again.

In the months preceding the occupation, paramilitary leaders and the Bundys attempted to set up a hand-picked, unelected Harney County “Committee of Safety”, a shadow county government, which according to crank legal theories, could be used to replace the County Commission. Now militia leaders are attempting to do the same in the counties surrounding Harney, including Crook County, Malheur County, and Grant County.

On Tuesday, over 50 brave Grant County residents showed up to protest a meeting to set up a “Committee of Safety”. We know many more Oregonians across the state are waiting in the wings for their opportunity to join their neighbors in calling for real solutions, not more divisions.

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 30th, is the day where communities across Oregon will act in concert to make it clear that we are drawing a line — it is time for this to end and for our communities to build genuine, civil, democratic means of making decisions together and seeking solutions to the many issues our communities face. So far actions are planned in Scappoose, Albany, Cottage Grove, Prineville, Roseburg, La Grande, Eugene and Portland. Check out the list of actions, locations, and times below!

It isn’t too late to join us in action! Get together with a couple of neighbors, make a sign, and stand in front of the Post Office for an hour (and send ROP a picture!)! Call your neighbors together for a meeting in your living room where you write notes of support and ‘Thank You’ cards to the incredible people of Harney County and the Burns Paiute Tribe for their strength and resilience, and collect donations to programs that directly meet the needs of the folks in the community! Click here to read our previous ROPnet with more ideas and information.

Below you’ll find ROP’s press release. Please take a look, share it with your friends and neighbors, and feel free to adapt it for your own use in your local media!


Saturday, Jan. 30th

Albany: Stand for Peace for Harney County
Ellsworth St between 4th & 5th

Eugene: Vigil for the People of Occupied Burns and Harney County
12-1 p.m.
Old Federal Building – 211 E 7th Ave

Portland: Rally in Solidarity with the People of Harney County & the Burns Paiute Tribe
10am – Sign Making – at PSU Smith Hall Lounge on Park Blocks
11am – Walk to Pioneer Square (Meet in front of PSU Smith Hall on Park Blocks)

Prineville: Hope for Harney County Rally
Sidewalk in front of the Crook County Courthouse

Roseburg: Flying Signs in Support of the People of Harney County & the Burns Paiute Tribe
Roseburg Main Post Office – 519 SE Kane St

Scappoose: Columbia Co Rally to End the Occupation in Harney County
Scappoose Totem Pole on Hwy 30

Sunday, Jan. 31st

Cottage Grove: Happy Hour for Harney County
Axe &  Fiddle


Jessica Campbell, Organizing Director, Rural Organizing Project: 541-999-8144
Cara Shufelt, Director, Rural Organizing Project: 503-349-3918

January 29th, 2016

The Rural Organizing Project is coordinating a statewide Day of Action in Solidarity with the people of Harney County and the Burns Paiute Tribe on January 30th. People and groups from across the state will participate in actions in their home communities to send the message that militias, paramilitaries and their tactics of threats and intimidation are not welcome in any of our towns or in rural Oregon.

Earlier this week, multiple leaders of the armed takeover at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were arrested. One of the armed occupiers was killed during a confrontation with police. The Rural Organizing Project mourns this loss of life, and hopes for a quick and peaceful resolution to the ongoing standoff without further bloodshed.

Several militia and paramilitary groups issued a call for their supporters to come to Burns immediately for an “operation” on Saturday. The Rural Organizing Project calls on all militias and armed occupiers to leave Harney County now before there is any other loss of life in accordance with the wishes of the local community and the Burns Paiute Tribe.  Actions will be taking place in Portland, Scappoose, Prineville, Albany, Eugene and Cottage Grove, among other small towns across Oregon.

“We do not accept that our political differences should be settled by armed groups through tactics of fear and intimidation,” says Joe Lewis, Board member of the Rural Organizing Project and an organizer of the action in Scappoose. “Our communities have a rural tradition of collaboration, conversation and resolving disputes without resorting to threats or violence.”

The occupation in Harney County is not an isolated event; over the last several years there has been a growth of militia and so-called patriot groups in rural communities in Oregon. Communities across Oregon who have already been suffering from an ongoing economic crisis are now being subjected to an increasing atmosphere of tension and potential violence. Militias and paramilitaries continue to exploit the insecurity rural Oregonians feel as the result of underfunded public services in order to advance their own agenda, offering only more divisions.

“Our rural communities across the state are struggling to stay connected, and these armed groups offer only more divisions,” says Joe Lewis. “It’s time to talk about real solutions for the issues facing hard-hit small towns.”

We are rallying across Oregon on Saturday because we know that rural Oregon needs a new economy. We need basic services such as 24-hour 911, adequate public safety for unserved areas, emergency services, fully funded fire districts.  We need public investment to create jobs where the private sector falls short, investments in education, sustainable energy projects, and the re-building of our physical infrastructure.  We need debt relief, tax reform that makes the 1% pay their fair share, a livable minimum wage, and help for producers dealing with a commodity system dominated by a few giant corporations. The only way these necessary reforms can happen is when the grassroots people unite. United we stand, divided we fall.

Communities participating in the Day of Action are also supporting the people of Harney County and the Burns Paiute Tribe by fundraising for the Harney District Hospital’s a Sip for the Cure Masquerade Tea Party and The Burns Paiute Tribe’s Tu-Wa-Kii-Nobi “Kid’s House” after school program.

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