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Militants Claim They'll Announce Exit Plan Friday


LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, speaks to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, near Burns, Ore.

LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, speaks to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, near Burns, Ore.

Rick Bowmer/AP

Members of the armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge said they will soon announce their plans to leave the federal buildings.  

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday morning, militant LaVoy Finicum said the group plans to hold a community meeting in Burns on Friday. Finicum said the armed occupiers will outline their exit strategy at that meeting.

The militants have been living in the refuge for more than 10 days.

Residents of Harney County attended a community meeting Monday night to discuss the occupation. A majority of the people at that meeting again asked the armed group to leave the refuge immediately.

Speaking at the community meeting, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said he wants to bill one of the militant leaders, Ammon Bundy, for everything the occupation has cost.

Grasty said last week’s school closure and county staff time associated with the refuge occupation cost between $60,000-$75,000 per day. That’s not including the costs of more than 30 sheriffs’ deputies from other counties working in Harney County.

“I’d like to send Mr. Bundy a bill for the entire cost—everything I can identify,” Grasty said. “If for no other reason than to let the world know how expensive this was for taxpayers and this nation.”

Part of those costs arose because leaders in Harney County shipped all of the inmates at the local jail to other facilities, so local deputies could focus on keeping residents safe.

Grasty said he plans to eventually ask for federal and state assistance to help cover the additional costs.

When asked about those costs to the county, occupier leader LaVoy Finicum pointed to what he sees as government overspending, more generally.

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