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Harney County Committee Of Safety Asks Occupiers To Leave


Burns resident Steve Atkins, left, talks with Ammon Bundy. The Harney County Committee of Safety, which Bundy helped form, has asked occupiers to leave.

Burns resident Steve Atkins, left, talks with Ammon Bundy. The Harney County Committee of Safety, which Bundy helped form, has asked occupiers to leave.

Rick Bowmer/AP

A community group that Ammon Bundy helped to create has asked him and his followers to abandon their armed occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Harney County Committee of Safety was formed with the goal of limiting federal authority on county land.   

Ammon Bundy helped create the group — but its board is made of local community members.

Inside The Occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Building

On Jan. 2, a group of protesters in town supporting the Hammonds — father and son ranchers convicted of arson who are now imprisoned — broke into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge building and began occupying the space. OPB reporter Amanda Peacher has been inside federal buildings taken over by Ammon Bundy and about two-dozen self-styled militiamen. Use the interactive map to better understand how the group is using the buildings within the wildlife refuge. 

Map data: Leaflet | Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community/OPB

At a public meeting Friday night, the board split with its co-founder. Board member Melodi Molt shared a letter the group sent Bundy asking him to leave the county.  

After thanking him for drawing attention to the county’s land use issues, they criticized the occupation at the refuge.    

“We feel that any good which may come out of this event has reached its full potential,” Molt said. “We ask that you organize your people, explain that your point has been made and leave in a peaceful, honorable fashion.”  

The group says it hasn’t heard back from Bundy. But earlier Friday, he suggested he would be interested in having the committee take over the cause.  

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