Concrete barriers went up outside the Harney County courthouse and sheriff’s office Friday morning in preparation for a possible protest, according to workers at the building.
Heavily armed sheriff’s deputies were seen on foot and in patrol trucks in the neighborhood around the courthouse in Burns.
Law enforcement and county workers indicated they were preparing for a possible protest, but it wasn’t immediately clear who would be protesting, or when.
Sheriff David Ward met Thursday with occupation leader Ammon Bundy on the edge of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to discuss an armed occupation of the federal compound led by Bundy.January 8, 2016
Ward told Bundy to leave the refuge, offering safe passage out of the county. Bundy declined the offer.
At a Friday morning press conference at the refuge, Bundy said, “We’ll take that offer, but not yet.”
Federal, state and local law authorities have been closely monitoring the situation at the refuge but have so far taken no action against Bundy and his followers, apparently to avoid a confrontation. Ward has been the most visible law enforcement authority during the occupation, and his strategy so far has been to try to show Bundy that locals oppose the occupation and want them to leave.
“How long will this go on? We say to you, ‘not a minute too early,’” Bundy said, according to the Associated Press.
The group has occupied the refuge since Jan. 2.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.