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BEND, OR -- Nearly a month after the official end of the Harney County occupation, residents and officials are still working through the lasting impacts of the 41-day ordeal. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), who represents Central and Eastern Oregon, tells KBND News the community is still healing. "If you look at most of the people who have been charged and arrested, very few of them were from Oregon, let alone – I don’t know that there was anybody from Harney County. And so, it really was a movement that came into the county. And a lot of people in the county said ‘thanks for elevating these issues, but it’s time to leave.’ And, they felt they went to far; and obviously they did and broke the law."

 

He credits the standoff with elevating important issues to the national spotlight, and he says that exposure has already resulted in some improvements. "There’s several things I’ve been working on in relationship with the local officials, ranchers and others to solve the lingering problems. One is making sure the BLM follows the law and actually provides the fencing on Steens Mountain that they were supposed to be doing all along. I’m getting assurances now that they plan to do that and we should have an announcement fairly soon on that." But, Walden admits, "It was actually one of the ironies of the takeover of the refuge itself, there’s actually been a pretty good collaborative out there on the ground; but there’s more work that certainly needs to be done on how we manage our forests, that could produce jobs, reduce wildfire and protect habitat. We have legislation that’s moved through the House multiple times in multiple years, we’ve got to break it loose and get some help out of the Senate to get it into law."
 
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the January 26 officer-involved shooting, which resulted in the death of militant LaVoy Finicum. An update on that investigation is expected to be made public Tuesday. 

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