PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal law enforcement officials are developing a plan to end the standoff at Malhuer Natural Refuge, sources told KOIN 6 News.
Ammon Bundy and a group of armed militia took over the federal building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2, 2016. They have repeatedly said they intend to stay at the compound indefinitely
The FBI, which is the lead agency dealing with the situation, is considering several steps ranging from negotiations to charging the people who have seized control of the refuge and moving to arrest them.
Sources say that officials are still developing a timeline by which to act and that a key concern is making sure the situation ends peacefully.
“No one wants this to go on forever,” one source told KOIN 6 News. “It will not be allowed to go on forever.”
The case, quite likely, will end up before a federal grand jury, which could bring a variety of charges, the sources said.
“All options are being considered,” a second source said. “Ultimately, it is in the hands of the FBI on how to proceed.”
On Tuesday, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward met individually with certain reporters who regularly cover his county. He told them he’s been assured by the FBI that at some point those who seized control of the refuge will face charges.
In a release Tuesday morning, Sheriff Ward announced a community meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Harney County Fairgrounds. The purpose is to “discuss safety concerns and disruptions caused by the behavior of those at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”
The meeting is open to the public.
Among disruptions is the fact schools in Burns have cancelled classes for the entire week because of the militia’s presence.
Governor Kate Brown statement:
“Although the FBI is the lead agency responding to the situation, my top priority is the safety of the people of Harney County and the City of Burns. The Oregon State Police has enhanced its presence in the area, augmenting local and federal public safety resources and assisting with community outreach. I look for a swift resolution that allows Harney County life to return to normal.”