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News | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Grant County Leaders Could Condemn Refuge Occupiers Wednesday

Boyd Britton serves as a commissioner in Grant County, Oregon.

Boyd Britton serves as a commissioner in Grant County, Oregon.

Amanda Peacher/OPB

Officials in Grant County will consider a resolution Wednesday morning condemning the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in neighboring Harney County.  

Last month the sheriff of Grant County, Glenn Palmer, suggested the government should meet some of the occupiers’ demands.

Palmer is part of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer’s Association, a national group of far-right sheriffs who refuse to enforce some federal laws.

After Palmer’s comments, some involved in the Malheur occupation suggested Grant County might be a better place to go.

The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association has received citizen complaints about Palmer’s conduct, and it plans to look into the matter, according to the Blue Mountain Eagle.

Meanwhile, Grant County Commissioner Chris Labhart said he doesn’t want the anti-federal movement to take root in his county.

He cited a collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service as being crucial to keeping jobs in the county.

“If that group came in here, and took over some federal installation — I’m not saying they would — probably, our Forest Service would shut down, our timber operation would shut down, and our mill would shut down. And that’s pretty much our economy,” Labhart said.

Labhart has proposed a resolution asking out-of-state militias to go home. The Grant County court will hear public comment on the resolution Wednesday.

Labhart said he expects the hearing to be standing room only. Sheriff Palmer did not respond to a request for comment. 

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