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January 27, 2016 04:06 PM

An eyewitness is contradicting the account put out by the Bundy Bunch that LaVoy Finicum was on his knees with his hands up when shot by law enforcement. 

McConnell who says he had been personal security for Ammon Bundy says he was following the pickup truck driven by LaVoy Finicum and seeks to put rumors to rest about Finicum's death, saying he was not on his knees and he charged at law enforcement. Finicum had tried to drive away from law enforcement then ran the truck into a snowbank, according to several accounts. 

The video is on McConnell's Facebook page here.

And below, The Oregonian has made a copy available on YouTube. 

A man named Melvin Lee has posted a video as well to clarify McConnell's story. He says McConnell was not arrested with the rest of the Malheur occupiers because he had not been part of the group out at the refuge. 

 

Finally, Victoria Sharps a young woman who was in the car with Ammon Bundy says Finicum's hands were up. 

January 26, 2016 07:13 PM

Update: arrests have been confirmed, one, LaVoy Finicum, aka "Tarpman," is deceased, according to media reports. Santilli has been arrested. See full press release below.

Pete Santilli of the "Pete Santilli Show," who has been posting videos from the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, posted a video Tuesday evening saying Ammon Bundy has been arrested and shots have been fired. This has not been confirmed with law enforcement as of 6 pm.

Santilli identifies himself on Twitter as a "proud 'Leave-Me-The-Heck-Alone-ist' Don't mess with me. Don't take my stuff. Exposing violations of our Constitutional rights; especially the Police-State's." He posts on Facebook as "Talk Network News."

Santilli is live streaming from the hospital. OPB news has confirmed the hospital is on lockdown.

Les Zaitz of The Oregonian is reporting a local governement official says occupation leader Ryan Payne was shot. Zaitz says that the highway between John Day in Burns is blocked by police. Zaitz has been covering the occupation since it began. Follow his updates on Twitter.

 

UPDATE - ADDITIONAL ARREST MADE IN THE OCCUPATION OF THE MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: JOINT STATEMENT BY THE FBI AND OSP News Release from FBI - Oregon Posted on FlashAlert: January 26th, 2016 7:44 PM UPDATE AS OF 7:45 P.M.

At approximately 6:30 p.m. (PST), the FBI arrested Peter Santilli, age 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in Burns, Oregon. He faces the same federal felony charge as the individuals listed below.

The arrest was without incident. At approximately 4:25 p.m. (PST) on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oregon State Police (OSP) began an enforcement action to bring into custody a number of individuals associated with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

During that arrest, there were shots fired. One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased. We will not be releasing any information about that person pending identification by the medical examiner's office.

One individual suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was arrested and is currently in custody.

The arrested individuals include:

* Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40, of Emmett, Idaho

* Ryan C. Bundy, age 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada * Brian Cavalier, age 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada

* Shawna Cox, age 59, Kanab, Utah

* Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32, of Anaconda, Montana

These probable cause arrests occurred along Highway 395.

In a separate event in Burns, Oregon, at approximately 5:50 pm, Oregon State Police arrested the following individual:

* Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, age 45, Cottonwood, Arizona

All of the named defendants face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

We continue to work with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and his deputies; Oregon State Police; and the United States Attorney's Office to address any further outstanding issues. As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.

All defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

January 25, 2016 06:09 PM

Kelly Gneiting, one of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has apparently issues a challenge to Governer Chris Christie (and I'm really hoping that this is as fake as the satirical story about the old birdwatcher pulling a high school wrestling move, but I'm afraid it's not). 

With comments such as challenging Christie to fight "mano a mano" while "wearing diapers and slapping bellies just like when we were toddlers," Gneiting takes Christie to task for suggesting the Oregon "militia" disband and says if Christie wins one of 10 wrestling matches "the Oregon Occupation will disperse."

Gneiting has said previously "God wants us here."

Just when you thought VanillaISIS couldn't get any weirder.

January 21, 2016 03:47 PM

FBI STATEMENT ON MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SITUATION

 

The FBI recognizes that many in the community have questions about why we are here and our role in helping to end the occupation of the wildlife refuge. We are here to work closely with Sheriff Ward and our local, state and federal partners to protect the safety and welfare of this community. This occupation has caused tremendous disruption and hardship for the people of Harney County, and our response has been deliberate and measured as we seek a peaceful resolution.                                  

January 19, 2016 06:47 PM

From felons with guns to people harassing media and law enforcment, the Harney County Sheriff David Ward has had it with VanillaISIS and their occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

In today's press release, Ward details run-ins with the law the occupiers have had while in Eastern Oregon, as well as events surrounding the almost three-week standoff.

He wraps it up saying, "I then personally met with Ammon Bundy, who has proclaimed to be the leader of the occupation, on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to discuss a peaceful resolution. I asked Ammon and his group to leave, which he stated he would not do. From that point forward, the occupiers at the refuge have been considered by law enforcement (local, state and federal) to be criminals -- and they need to vacate the refuge.

It's clear at this point that the Bundy group does not have the interests of Harney County in mind -- they're in it for their own agenda. We will continue to work to keep you safe while they continue to not keep their word."

 

MESSAGE FROM SHERIFF WARD (TUESDAY, JAN. 19, 5:30 P.M.)

News Release from Harney Co. Sheriff
Posted on FlashAlert: January 19th, 2016 5:29 PM

We continue to work with our law-enforcement partners to protect the Harney County community during the armed and unlawful occupation occurring at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

Some events have occurred in the community involving criminals heading to or from the refuge. These are listed below: 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14 -- Oregon State Police (OSP) stopped a vehicle for a lighting violation. The driver -- Dwane Kirkland, of Hamilton, Montana -- was arrested on charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He was in possession of a handgun and a rifle. The vehicle he was driving had switched plates and was uninsured. 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15 -- OSP arrested Kenneth Medenbach, of LaPine, at the Safeway in Burns. He was arrested on probable cause for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. OSP recovered two vehicles stolen from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during this encounter. 

Occupants of the second vehicle fled the scene before police arrival. The Sheriff's Office is working to identify and arrest these suspects. If you have any information, please contact the sheriff's office with tips at 541-573-1362

Every time a trespasser from the refuge operates a vehicle that belongs to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they are committing a crime. We will not tolerate it when they come into our community driving stolen vehicles. 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 17 -- OSP discovered a traffic crash on Greenhouse Lane near Highway 20. An investigation revealed the driver -- Darrow Burke, of Ukiah, California -- lost control on an icy corner and rolled. He was not injured, but was cited for no operator's license. Mr. Burke told OSP troopers he had been at the refuge for the past week. 

Law enforcement has also had multiple contacts with non-Harney County citizens who claim they are in the community to act as intermediaries between the FBI and the trespassers. Many of these people are armed with handguns and assault rifles. These persons -- as well as the trespassers -- are wearing police/military-style body armor when contacting law enforcement. They continue to conduct surveillance on law enforcement and have harassed members of the media. 

We will continue to work with our partners to keep Harney County safe while the FBI works toward a peaceful resolution at the refuge. Additional law enforcement resources have been moved towards locations to be poised to react to any situation that may occur. This includes notifying the hospital of more people in town and ensuring they have the capability to handle any medical emergency. 

Today's events include: 

- Today at noon, a "Rally for Malheur" was held in cities throughout Oregon, hosted by the Audubon society. 

Tonight at 7 p.m., Harney County is hosting its second Community Meeting in the Burns High School gym. We encourage the community to show up to hear the latest updates and make your voices heard. 

The Bundy group continues to break its repeated promises to leave the refuge if the community asked them to do so. On Monday, January 4, the community did just that -- and the Bundy group failed to leave. 

I then personally met with Ammon Bundy, who has proclaimed to be the leader of the occupation, on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to discuss a peaceful resolution. I asked Ammon and his group to leave, which he stated he would not do. From that point forward, the occupiers at the refuge have been considered by law enforcement (local, state and federal) to be criminals -- and they need to vacate the refuge. 

It's clear at this point that the Bundy group does not have the interests of Harney County in mind -- they're in it for their own agenda. We will continue to work to keep you safe while they continue to not keep their word. 

January 18, 2016 01:46 AM

As Martin Luther King Jr., Day dawns, a couple of brothers from Eugene, Jake and Zach Klonoski remind Oregonians that it's not just a day off, but a day of action. The action they seek is against the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

As humorous stories both true (people are sending them dildos) and satirical (old birdwatcher takes them out with a wrestling move) circle the internet, the brothers write that most Oregonians have "felt the shame of our state being mocked in national media as the occupation has stretched on with no end in sight."

The full press release is below.

We are often reminded that the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. honored today demands that we make this holiday a day of action and not simply enjoy a day off.

For Oregonians, this MLK Day carries with it a deep frustration.  For sixteen days, the highest profile protest in the nation is on our soil, though it is not being conducted by Oregonians.  Deep in southeastern Oregon, a small group of heavily armed, out-of-state militants have seized public land and buildings on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  An inheritance of every American, President Teddy Roosevelt set aside the Malheur NWR in 1908 “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”  Three hundred twenty species of birds visit or live in the Malheur NWR, a treasure of the great Pacific Flyway that stretches from Alaska to Patagonia.

Most Oregonians have heard the militants demands that public lands be auctioned off and felt the shame of our state being mocked in national media as the occupation has stretched on with no end in sight.  Admirably, law enforcement authorities have restrained themselves to avoid violence or injury – though clearly the law is being flouted and the local community does not support the occupation.

 Still the specter of violence hangs over Oregon this MLK Day, and there is insufficient outlet for Oregonians to respond to the offensiveness of this illegal intrusion.  This day more than any other demands action.

But as MLK reminded the nation in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.  We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” 

We find creative lessons for the situation in Harney County in a small southeastern German town, Wunseidel.  There an annual neo-Nazi march glorifying the Third Reich regularly embarrassed the local community. 

Until 2014. 

That year when the Neo-Nazis gathered, to their surprise their marching route was demarked meter-by-meter and the community came out to cheer them on.  Local residents had organized and pledged donations for every meter the marchers preceded that would go to EXIT Germany, a group dedicated to supporting the safe exit of neo-Nazi from extremist groups.  The YouTube video of the 2014 march-turned-Walk-a-thon is a thing of beauty.

We know the occupiers of the Malheur still have internet access, the tweets of the anti-government activists requesting snacks be mailed by US Post Office are infamous. 

That connectivity opens a path for us all to teach these out-of-staters a lesson about Oregon.  We invite you to visit www.GOHOMEmalheur.org where you will find information on the “Getting the Occupiers of the Historic Oregon Malheur NWR Evicted” campaign (G.O.H.O.M.E.).  You can also add a per day campaign pledge of any amount that you choose, your donation will increase with each day that the occupation of the Malheur NWR continues.

At the end of the occupation the collected donations will be distributed between the four groups below, groups antithetical to the occupiers’ message of brute force and rage, as well as the privilege and narcissism inherent in their goals.

 • Friends of Malheur NWR – a civic organization dedicated to the environmental and educational goals of the Malheur NWR, the Refuge’s upkeep and protection, and to promoting the NWR system;

•      Americans for Responsible Action — a national political action group, founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre by former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, to advocate for common sense gun control and Second Amendment rights;

•     Burns Paiute tribe – the original inhabitants of the Malheur region, dispossessed despite a 1868 treaty, the tribal leadership has eloquently given lie to the occupation’s claim to be fighting for the “rightful owners” of the Malheur.

•    The Southern Poverty Law Center – a decades-old organization that monitors extremist groups around the United States and reports on their activities.

Each day the occupiers choose to continue their illegal occupation of our lands, they will be increasing funding of these groups.  Their illegal occupation will be transformed into an occupy-a-thon, raising money that will assist in undoing any accomplishment they hope will emerge from their efforts.

Our fondest hope is that in a cold building in Harney County, an occupier will read this article, type in www.GOHOMEmalheur.org and witness the combined statement of thousands Oregonians, of tens of thousands of Americans, demonstrating the futility of what he is doing.  Deflated, he will shoulder his weapon and peacefully depart our state —the threat of physical force defeated by our collective soul force. 

If you would like to send your message, visit www.GOHOMEmalheur.org.  The language to announce your pledge on social media is there to share far and wide.  Make a pledge and honor this day of action, while demonstrating to the occupiers of the Malheur NWR how to act for change with discipline and dignity.

The Klonoski brothers are the sons of Judge Ann Aiken. Aiken has taken criticism for being the judge who sentenced the Hammonds, the men who committed arson on federal lands, to the full five years the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that they be sentenced to. 

Jake Klonoski told The Register-Guard that, "“We have not spoken to her about this, she doesn’t know what’s going on, and we have no intent to speak to her about this because it has nothing to do with her."

January 7, 2016 02:37 PM

Climate change? Go ahead, try and deny it. 

Or pay attention to some of that science-type stuff coming out of OSU.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A mild winter, an early spring and warmer-than-average temperatures every season have contributed to a record-breaking year, as 2015 will go down as the warmest in Oregon since state records began in 1895.

Oregon’s previous record high average temperature of 49.9 degrees was set in 1934 – the height of the Dust Bowl – when the entire country was plagued by hot, dry weather.

Despite a cold, icy end to December in Oregon, the average temperature in 2015 was 50.4 degrees, not only a record but far above the average yearly temperature for the 20th century, which was 47.8 degrees, according to Oregon State University’s Philip Mote, who directs the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute on campus.

“In previous years, we’ve had periods where the weather was warmer for differing spells,” Mote said. “In 2015, though, it was warmer than average almost all the way through the year.”

A combination of meteorological conditions and greenhouse gases led to the record warm year, he added.

The statistics are from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Oregon was not alone in experiencing a warm 2015, according to Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU. Washington, Montana and Florida also experienced record high temperatures, and in several other states 2015 went down in the top five of all time.

It appears this will be yet another record warm year for average global temperature, Dello pointed out, and it is officially the second warmest year in the United States, despite blizzards and Arctic temperatures in the Northeast.

“If you are 31 years of age, you have not lived through a single month in which the global temperature was below average,” Dello said. “And if you are 31 and living in Oregon, you have only experienced three years here that were cooler than the 20th-century average.”

Researchers calculate the average temperature for each day by looking at the highest and lowest temperatures. If the high reaches 90 degrees and the low is 60, that day’s average temperature is 75 degrees. They then calculate the average monthly temperature, and finally, the average yearly temperature.

The average for the state is done by analyzing temperatures at a series of long-established weather stations throughout the state.

“We had a ridge of high pressure that set up and kept the weather warm and dry throughout most of the summer and fall,” Mote said. “That followed a winter in which we got nearly average precipitation, but much of it came from the south and it fell as rain instead of snow.”

Mote said the record-setting 2015 weather was a combination of meteorological phenomena and the Earth gradually getting warmer because of human activities.

Through rigorous statistical analysis, scientists are able to tease out the impacts of El Niño, greenhouse gas emissions, volcanic activity and solar activity on temperatures.

Mote said 2015 would have been a warm year because of meteorological conditions, but the 1-2 degrees (F) attributable to greenhouse gases pushed temperatures into record territory.

“There’s little doubt that the insulation of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions played a role in the warming throughout the year,” he said.

The OSU researchers say expect more of the same in 2016.

“With El Niño and the remnants of The Blob (a huge warm patch of water in the North Pacific Ocean), it should be another warm year for the Earth, and for Oregon,” Dello said.

January 4, 2016 02:50 PM

It's pretty much once in a blue moon that pro-wolf conservation group Oregon Wild and the Oregon Cattlemen's Association find themselves on the same side of the fence on a public lands issue. But when it comes to the Bundy militia's takeover of a federal building on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge they agree that they are against it.

The OCA is against the takeover, but the group does support the Hammonds, the ranchers' whose beef with the BLM (and arson episodes) launched this debacle. 

Burns, the Hammonds and Oregon Cattlemen's Association

SALEM,Ore., (01/04/2016) -- Today, January 4, 2016 Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond have left their homes to report to a federal prison. Both ranchers are faithful, long term Oregon Cattlemen's Association members. Many have asked where the association stands on the Hammond's predicament.

The Oregon Cattlemen's Association has declared that they do not support illegal activity taken against the government but has, and will continue, to support the Hammonds via avenues that are in accordance with the law.

John O'Keeffe, current president of the OCA, said the ranchers in Burns strive to work together with surrounding agencies. "The community of Burns and the ranchers there have been very resourceful in working together with agencies on many wildlife issues," he said. "Furthermore, OCA does not support illegal activity taken against the government. This includes militia takeover of government property, such as the Malheur Wildlife Refuge."

OCA's Executive Director, Jerome Rosa, pointed out that the Oregon Cattlemen's Association has supported the Hammonds for some time and does not agree with their current re-sentencing. "OCA feels the Hammond's situation is a classic case of double jeopardy. The Hammonds were tried and convicted by a jury of their peers and have already served their sentence," Rosa said.

Although the Hammonds have already been sentenced to additional prison time, OCA is continuing to work to find ways to support them.

O'Keeffe mentioned several legal ways the organization is working to provide assistance. "We are circulating an online petition asking the White House to review the Hammonds case." A link to the petition can be found the OCA website or on their social media channels. "In addition to clemency efforts, we are working through legal avenues to help the Hammonds get their BLM grazing permits restored," said O'Keeffe.

While the Oregon Cattlemen's Association does not agree with the current legal action being taken against the Hammonds, OCA will continue to assist and represent the Hammonds solely through avenues that are in accordance with the law.

The Oregon Cattlemen's Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

Meanwhile, Oregon Wild is not only against the armed takeover, but has some choice words for the the tactics being used, calling it terrorism. 

Public Lands Under Attack by Armed Insurrectionists

Perverted interpretation of US Constitution used to justify occupation of wildlife refuge

Statement of Sean Stevens, Executive Director of Oregon Wild, on the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge:

“America’s public lands -- our National Parks, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges and other special places -- are among our most prized national treasures. Yet today, our public lands are under attack by insurrectionists in Harney County, Oregon. An armed militia group led by out-of-state ringleaders has seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and is using threats of violence and intimidation to try and achieve their political ends.

“We are disgusted that this group is hijacking the word “patriotism” to justify its actions, while rejecting the basic tenets of American society--democracy and the rule of law. They claim their seizure of Malheur refuge is in support of two local ranchers. However, those ranchers were convicted in a court of law of arson in a case involving poaching deer on public lands and intentionally setting fires that damaged hundreds of acres of public land to hide the evidence, endangering firefighters in the area. The two ranchers in question failed to serve the mandatory minimum sentence required for their crimes, and are now being required to serve their full terms.

“The details of the Hammond case are disturbing, but they are a distraction to what is truly happening here. These armed occupiers are using intimidation and threats of violence to make a political point. They do not believe the American government should own any land, and that our National Parks, Forests, Refuges, or other lands should be privatized. They base their views on a perverted definition of the U.S. Constitution - one that has been thoroughly discredited by lawmakers, legal scholars, and the courts. Numerous opinion polls show that the American public across the political spectrum supports our public lands--places that belong to all Americans, and that all Americans have a right to responsibly use and enjoy.

“The dictionary definition of the word terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” This word should not be used lightly, but it is exactly what the the extremist group currently occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is attempting to do. The people of Oregon are scared and angry, and politicians and members of the news media should not create a double standard by labeling this group something else.

“Oregon Wild calls upon local, state and federal authorities in Oregon to work to resolve this conflict without the violence and bloodshed that the insurrectionists seek, so that Malheur National Wildlife Refuge can once again be a protected haven for wildlife. Elected officials, in no uncertain terms, must denounce this terrorism. We also urge federal and state law enforcement to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Background:

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was set aside 100 years ago to protect wetlands for migratory and breeding waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors. As the Portland Audubon Society has noted:

In 2013, the Refuge adopted a long-term management plan developed through an inclusive collaborative process that brought together the local community, tribes, conservation groups, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders. These stakeholders have continued to work together to implement this strategy which includes one of the biggest wetland restoration efforts ever undertaken.

The group occupying these public lands is led by members of the Cliven Bundy family, who previously staged an armed stand-off with federal law enforcement after they refused to pay the American public grazing fees, despite running their cattle on public lands for more than two decades. Individuals at that stand-off, including some now at Malheur, bragged about pointing sniper scopes at law enforcement officers. The individuals involved in this insurrection have yet to be held accountable to the law.

In recent months we have witnessed increasingly divisive rhetoric in our national political dialogue pertaining to America’s public lands. Comments spanning from local politicians to candidates for president have emboldened this kind of behavior. Oregon state legislators, county commissioners, and sheriffs have become increasingly outspoken in their desire to seize public lands away from the American public and turn it over to extractive interests. Indeed, in the 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature there were several bills introduced with the intent to seize national public lands.

January 4, 2016 01:07 PM

The Oregonian and OPB have reporters on the scene of the Bundy occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County Oregon, aka #VanillaISIS (let's note Daesh is more appropriate, but that doesn't hashtag as well). 

High Country News has been covering the "Sagebrush Rebellion" for 40 years. Scroll down to 1994 for an article on the Malheur refuge.

OPB's Amanda Peacher's tweet showing the Bundy militia's supplies is rather telling. Her Twitter feed is worth a follow for followers of the refuge takeover.

 

In comparison to the events in Oregon, reading up on the saga of the Shoshone Dann sisters of Nevada in their battle for land makes for an informative read. As the columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal points out, "The Danns had the support of the United Nations, but not the endorsement of armed 'patriots' or an outpouring of assistance from conservative media outlets and right-wing political action networks."

The Portland Audobon Society weighs in on the Harney County standoff, writing:

The occupation of Malheur by armed, out of state militia groups puts one of America’s most important wildlife refuges at risk. It violates the most basic principles of the Public Trust Doctrine and holds hostage public lands and public resources to serve the very narrow political agenda of the occupiers. The occupiers have used the flimsiest of pretexts to justify their actions—the conviction of two local ranchers in a case involving arson and poaching on public lands. Notably, neither the local community or the individuals convicted have requested or endorsed the occupation or the assistance of militia groups.

And the FBI is now involved.

FBI STATEMENT ON HARNEY COUNTY SITUATION
News Release from FBI - Oregon

The FBI is working with the Harney County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police and other local and state law enforcement agencies to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The FBI is the lead investigative agency for the situation at the refuge.

Due to safety considerations for both those inside the refuge as well as the law enforcement officers involved, we will not be releasing any specifics with regards to the law enforcement response.

And below (click the image for the full document) is the summary of the court case that led the Hammonds to go to prison, and the Bundys to show up in rural Oregon. The acting U.S. attorney points out the government never called the Hammonds terrorists.

December 17, 2015 07:18 PM

Sources at the Eugene Register-Guard tell EW that an email went out on Dec. 17 informing R-G staffers that N. Christian Anderson III is no longer editor and publisher of the paper. Anderson started at the R-G June 1, after leaving The Oregonian. 

EW sent an email to Wendy Baker, director of human resources and general counsel at the R-G, to confirm and ask the reason for the change. 

In response, Baker wrote, "I would consider giving you a quote if you would share the source of your information."

EW does not reveal the identity of sources to whom we have promised confidentiality. 

Baker then wrote, "I'm sorry, but our policy is not to discuss personnel matters."

Longtime R-G arts and features reporter Randi Bjornstad, who is also with the Eugene Newspaper Guild, which represents the paper's employees, responded to a request for comment. She was not one of EW's original sources. Bjornstad says she was surprised to receive the email saying Anderson had been let go from the Register-Guard, and "I thought he was doing everything the company said it wanted, in terms of digital coverage."

Although the R-G has stepped up and altered its digital coverage, Anderson didn't appear to implement some of the more dramatic changes at the locally owned paper that he did at The O, which is owned by Advance Publications. Under Anderson, The O laid off staff, switched from a broadsheet to a tabloid format, went to four-day instead of seven-day home delivery to "reorganize operations" and "emphasize online news." 

Willamette Week has posted the text of the email from R-G chairman Tony Baker, the husband of Wendy Baker. The R-G is owned by the Baker family.

While Anderson was the first non-Baker to be the editor of the R-G, another outsider, David Pero was the paper's chief operating officer from 2007 to 2012, overseeing day-to-day operations of the paper, including "direct oversight of the newsroom." Pero swiftly departed the paper after five years, under rumors he had been fired.

You can read The O's account of Anderson here, or a more jaded account of his newspaper history published in 2010 on the Daily Kos or here at The Sockeye.

Anderson was listed as the editor and publisher of the R-G on the paper's masthead in the Thursday, Dec. 17 issue of the paper, but by the Dec. 18 edition, his name was gone. 

And here is the text of the email sent out 3:38 pm Dec. 17 to R-G employees that is now circulating on social media:

Dear Colleagues:

I'm writing to inform you that Chris Anderson is no longer Editor and Publisher of The Register-Guard.

For the immediate future, I will step back in and assume the responsibilities of president of Guard Publishing Company. I will be in the office building for a couple of hours each weekday to consult with department managers and others as needed. I will rely on those same managers to continue to lead their respective departments and carry out the media company strategic plan initiatives adopted by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors at its September meeting. I will be out of the office beginning next week through the end of the year, returning to the office on Monday, January 4. In my absence, I have asked Rick Baker and Dave Baker to jointly assume operational direction of the company.

The Nominating and Succession Planning Committee, a standing committee of the Board of Directors, will meet and formally begin a search for new media company leadership in January. Meanwhile, I ask that everyone continue to focus on the vitally important work you do day in and day out to serve our readers and advertisers. They're counting on us not to miss a beat.

On behalf of the Baker family, I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season. Your commitment to The Register-Guard and your contributions to our continued success are deeply appreciated.

Sincerely,

Tony Baker
Chairman
Guard Publishing Company

December 16, 2015 06:25 PM

Thursday Dec. 17 at 10 am, a patch of forest outside of Eugene goes to auction. That patch of forest, called the John's Last Stand timber sale by the Bureau of Land Management, is near the Willamette  National Forest Hiking Trail and the Hardesty Mountain unroaded area.

Preserving the Hardesty wildlands complex, a little over 20 miles southwest of Eugene, has been a campaign of the Many Rivers Group Sierra Club for several years, and Many Rivers Group is protesting the sale along with Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild.

According to the BLM's sale proposal, John's Last Stand  is being sold as a "regeneration harvest." Oregon Wild says the proposal calls for leaving only six to eight trees an acre — essentially a clearcut.

 

Oregon Wild says the forest is 116 years old and the clearcutting will be "just a stone's throw" from a hiking trail and in a roadless area close to Eugene. The Many Rivers Group says in its campaign to preserver Hardesty as a wild area that, "on the Umpqua side of the Hardesty divide is the headwaters for Cottage Grove's drinking water supply.

In their Dec. 3 protest letter to the Eugene BLM, the three groups write, "A large amount of clearcutting has occurred on private lands in this area in recent years. BLM should no add to the cumulative effects by conducing more regen, harvest which may have significant effects on water quality, wildlife habitat, and scenic values."

The groups have asked members of Oregon's congressional delegation, including Rep. Peter DeFazio, to halt the sale.  

December 10, 2015 05:47 PM

 New York Magazine has thrown a little attention Eugene's way with a piece called "Go Green in Eugene: The Willamette Valley city has become a hub for sustainable brewing, outdoor adventuring, and locally focused cooking."

Major points for only mentioning the UO and Ducks in the context of the art museusm, Ethos mag and the duck eggs served at Membrillo. 

Local readers may not agree with all the choices, but EW sure didn't mind that NY mag recommended folks pick up the local alt weekly:

But one big question we have is: Where in the world is that waterfall? Seems like that same image has been used in another visit Eugene article, and we're pretty sure it's not Eugene!

Update

We're hearing that the photo is from Silver Falls State Park. It's the same Getty image that The Daily Beast erroneously used in 2012 when it named Eugene a top green city. 

December 5, 2015 11:23 AM

A Nov. 27 notice mailed out by the U.S. Postal Service warns that if a "mailpiece" contains ads for marijuana it is "nonmailable."

 

This has some Oregon newspapers that accept legal pot ads concerned, particularly rural papers that are primarily mailed. According to The Oregonian, "It's not clear what prompted the warning, which was hand-delivered Monday by a Washington postal official to the Chinook Observer, a Long Beach, Wash., newspaper. The newspaper and the Daily Astorian distribute a weekly tab called Coast Weekend, which runs advertisements from a Long Beach dispensary and Oregon Coast dispensaries."

Members of Oregon's congressional delegation responded in a letter to the Postmaster, asking, among other things, if the policy is being enforced in all 50 states and what discretion a regional postmaster has, what authority does the Postal Service have to regulate the advertising of legal marijuana, if the ads aren't promising to mail any marijuana? How will the Postal Service enforce the rule when Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from spending any money prosecuting federal marijuana crimes in states that have legalized weed?

Finally, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer ask if the Postal Service cooperateed “with anyone at DEA or DOJ in establishing this policy?" and if it did the “please detail the nature of the cooperation."

December 3, 2015 05:34 PM
Mayor Kitty Piercy sent out a statement on her health today. According to the news release, the mayor found a small, non-invasive cancer through a routine breast self-examination. 
 
Following the discovery of a lump in her breast and a subsequent mammogram and biopsy, Mayor Piercy’s doctor has diagnosed ductal carcinoma in situ. Her understanding is that this is a very common cancer that is small, non-invasive and low grade. Next week, Mayor Piercy will meet with a surgeon and make arrangements for surgery soon.
 
Mayor Piercy said, “I am grateful that this was discovered through routine breast self-examination. It is a reminder to us all to do those examinations regularly. Throughout this process I have been impressed with the kind, efficient and very professional care I have received. I expect to need a little time to recover from surgery, but other than that to continue with my usual full schedule.”