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News | Land use | local | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Schools Reopen In Burns, Federal Offices Remain Closed


Federal offices in Harney County remained closed Monday due to the ongoing occupation that started on Jan. 2.

Federal offices in Harney County remained closed Monday due to the ongoing occupation that started on Jan. 2.

Amanda Peacher/OPB

The community of Burns is trying to resume life as usual as Monday marks the 10th day since armed occupiers took control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.     

Both public schools and federal offices in Burns were closed last week due to the ongoing occupation of the refuge, some 30 miles away.

There’s no sign that the self-described militants will leave anytime soon, or that law enforcement will take action. Schoolchildren returned to class Monday morning.

Jen Keady said she is happy to have her sons back in school.

“I think that there’s still some fear amongst the community. I think it will be good for everyone to just be back, to hopefully let that normal routine help secure that they can feel okay and they don’t need to feel so scared,” said Keady.

Federal offices in Harney County remained closed Monday due to the ongoing occupation that started on Jan. 2.

More than 70 Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees are affected by the closure.

The agencies would not comment on the refuge occupation. Officials said the armed occupation is affecting a variety of projects but many employees are continuing to work remotely.

A BLM spokesperson said the closures are evaluated day by day but there is no sense for when offices might reopen.

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