WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New estimates for the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge put costs over $3 million. Most expenses are related to around-the-clock law enforcement efforts during the standoff.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) tells KBND News he's already talking with federal officials about picking up some of the tab. "I have spoken with James Comey, Director of the FBI, about the issue of federal reimbursement for these huge costs incurred by local law enforcement. I feel very strongly about that." He adds, "I'll do everything I can to get federal support for local law enforcement. Because, when they go through something like this it can be just devastating for their law enforcement budget; not just for this year, but going into the future."
Oregon State Police, alone, spent $1.2 million during the occupation. Other expenses include nearly $800,000 in police help from outside Harney County, another $500,000 incurred by schools and the cities of Burns and Hines, and an estimated $400,000 for the more than 100 U.S. Bureau of Land Management employees who were unable to work during the standoff.
Governor Kate Brown was in Washington, D.C. this week for the National Governor's Conference. She took the opportunity to meet with federal officials and request reimbursement for the state and Harney County, as well. She says the community did everything right and should not have to shoulder the cost of the damage alone.