A former occupier of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge visited the site of the 41-day occupation Thursday.
Recently acquitted of conspiring to occupy the refuge and prevent federal employees from doing their jobs, David Fry was released from the Multnomah County jail Oct. 27.
Fry, 27, traveled from his family home in Ohio to Oregon in January in support of the occupation, led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy.
Fry was the final holdout when the remaining four occupiers surrendered Feb. 11.
Fry livestreamed and posted videos on his YouTube channel frequently throughout his time at the refuge. Now released from jail, Fry resumed streaming videos online this week as he traveled through Burns, Oregon.
“They’ve got some guards up here now, guarding this place,” Fry said from a truck — driven by his father, Bill Fry — in a gravel area outside the refuge headquarters.
“We were told there’s a couple people who are actually leaving this refuge; they’re going to work somewhere else,” he said. “They’re claiming that they’re scared to come back to work here now, this place has been closed ever since the occupation.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said after the occupation some of the 17 Malheur employees did not want to return to work at the refuge.
In the posted video, Fry reflected on the state of the refuge, especially focusing on signs stating the headquarters, where armed occupiers lived for 41 days, remains closed.
“It’s kind of interesting you can’t go in there anymore,” he said. “This is what the government does: they just close it completely, punishing the public, not letting people go down there.”
“Ready to do an easy rider, once around the parking lot?” asked Bill Fry in the video.
“Sounds good. Do a loop-de-loop here, it’s all closed,” replied David Fry.
“This is where the locals live, that were terrified, look at all the locals,” David Fry added, showing empty fields stretching alongside the road between the refuge and Burns.
Fry later commented on social media that the video is trolling.
“Hey! Were you guys terrified during the occupation at the wildlife refuge?” Fry shouted at nearby cattle in the video. “No? Moo, nope they’re not terrified.”
As the video ends, Fry showcases another long stretch of the eastern Oregon landscape and says, “Just had an interview with some of the locals, see? Not terrified.”
In addition to the video, Fry posted photos of himself on social media with people in Burns, Oregon, who supported the ideals of the occupation.
“Met some more patriot sisters back in Burns @ The Apple Peddler!,” Fry wrote on a post with photos of the local restaurant.