Oregon standoff: Police say man arrested in car stolen from wildlife refuge

BURNS, Ore. -- Authorities arrested a man they said was driving a government vehicle stolen from a wildlife refuge being occupied by an armed group protesting federal land policies as the standoff in Oregon's high desert hit the two-week mark.

See Full Article

Kenneth Medenbach, 62, of Crescent was arrested by Oregon State Police at a grocery store in Burns for investigation of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. It was unclear if he has a lawyer. Medenbach is already facing charges in U.S. District Court in Medford after authorities said he illegally camped on federal land between May and November last year, according to federal court records.

Authorities also say they recovered a second stolen vehicle from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge but provided no other details. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously reported the vehicles had been stolen.

So far, authorities have not tried to remove the group from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. As the situation drags on, people in the local area are growing increasingly weary and wary of the group.

Cement barriers have been erected to block streets around the county courthouse in the small eastern Oregon town of Burns, where police from around the state have set up a command centre.

About 30 miles to the south at the refuge, other protesters carrying what appear to be military-style rifles scan the snow-covered rangeland from atop an old fire lookout that gives them a sweeping view of roads leading into the area.

"If we all keep a calm about us everything will be OK," Brenda Pointere said Thursday as she exited a Burns restaurant. "It started out calm, but the longer it goes on -- you start to hear rumours."

The occupation started Jan. 2 as a protest over two area ranchers who had been convicted of arson being returned to prison to serve longer sentences.

Afterward, a group led by Ammon Bundy travelled to occupy the refuge to protest the ranchers' return to prison and demand that the 300-square-mile refuge be turned over to local control.

Bundy said he understood the frustration of Harney County residents. "They have been suppressed to the point where they're ready to act," he told The Associated Press on Thursday inside a heated wildlife refuge building while his brother, Ryan, and two women sat nearby.

Burns, nearby Hines and the local area have been in an economic tailspin for decades after the loss of a lumber mill that some blamed on federal restrictions involving timber harvests. Restrictions on other federal lands are a common theme of frustration.

The Bundys had planned a meeting with community members Friday night, but it was in limbo after county officials said they couldn't use the fairgrounds.

Arizona rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a spokesman for the group, told reporters Friday that protesters were still hopeful the meeting might occur next week, perhaps Monday, if they can find a location. He criticized local officials for "making sure we have no access to facilities to talk to the residents."

The group has said they won't leave until the ranchers jailed for arson are freed and the refuge is turned over to local control.

Locals who agreed to be interviewed were themselves conflicted, expressing anger toward federal land policies but bothered by the armed takeover. "I don't agree with anything they're doing right now," Ben McCanna said about the occupiers at the refuge.

But McCanna, 54, also said the ranchers' return to prison was wrong, and that he was irked that the U.S. Forest Service closed off access to one of his favourite camping spots in nearby Malheur National Forest.

Also Friday, the chairwoman of the Burns Paiute Tribe asked federal officials to bring criminal charges if any ancient artifacts are damaged or missing from the refuge currently occupied by the group.

Thousands of ancient artifacts and maps to prehistoric sites are kept at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Tribe Chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging federal prosecution, if warranted.

Ryan Bundy has said the group isn't interested in the artifacts, but it wants the refuge land opened to ranchers and loggers.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hope for finding Italian avalanche survivors dimming

    World News CBC News
    Rescuers dug all night in deep snow and debris in search of some 30 missing people who were staying in a luxury mountain hotel in Italy when an avalanche struck almost two days ago. Officials have confirmed finding two bodies, while Italian media said two more were located overnight. Source
  • A look at 10 promises Trump made for his first day

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Behind in the polls in late October, Donald Trump ventured to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to give American voters a "contract" detailing what he would achieve during his first day in office. Beneath a list of 18 major actions was the flourish of Trump's familiar signature and a blank space for voters to sign. Source
  • 'Embrace change': Canada cautioned to keep cool for Trump: Rosemary Barton

    Canada News CBC News
    Half a world away from the festivities and protests taking place in the United States of America, the former Canadian primer minister managed hit the nail on the head. "The U.S. under [Donald] Trump will focus squarely on America's vital interests, narrowly defined, especially its economic interests. Source
  • Royal LePage sees surge of interest in Canadian real estate from Americans

    Canada News CBC News
    One of Canada's biggest sellers of real estate says it is witnessing a surge of interest from Americans who are considering moving north as a result of the U.S. presidential election. In a report released Friday, Royal LePage said visits to its website surged by more than four times the normal daily volume the day after Donald Trump's win on November 8th. Source
  • Inauguration day: Trump to become United State's 45th president

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, a real estate mogul and reality television star who upended American politics and energized voters angry with Washington, will be sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, putting Republicans in control of the White House for the first time in eight years. Source
  • Russian elites hail Trump's inauguration

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russian officials and lawmakers are lauding Donald Trump's inauguration as a start of what they hope will be a period of better ties with the United States. Trump's promises to fix the ravaged relations with Moscow have elated Russia's political elite amid spiraling tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and other issues. Source
  • Rescuers searching for survivors of Tehran high-rise collapse

    World News CTV News
    TEHRAN, Iran - Rescue teams worked overnight to try and reach trapped firefighters and other victims after a commercial building collapsed and killed at least 30 firefighters. Scores of workers and dozens of trucks were searching the ruins for victims Friday, a day after a historic high-rise building in the heart of Iran's capital caught fire and later collapsed. Source
  • Thai farmers turn to gold panning after floods devastate fields

    World News CTV News
    BANG SAPHAN, Thailand -- Nature regularly taunts the farmers of Thailand by flooding their fields, but this time she's tossed some of them a potential safety net: the chance to pan for gold. Crops in Bang Saphan district, a rural community 240 kilometres south of Bangkok, were decimated by heavy flooding that affected much of southern Thailand in the week after New Year's. Source
  • Kenney reassures unite-the-right crowd after tumultuous week for Alta. PCs

    Canada News CBC News
    Jason Kenney dismissed a week's worth of very public party infighting at a Calgary town hall meeting organized to bring Alberta conservatives together. "In any leadership election, especially when the stakes are this high, there is going to be some high emotions and some friction," the man who wants to lead Alberta conservatives told reporters after the meeting. Source
  • 'I will see you tomorrow': president-elect Trump to supporters at Lincoln Memorial

    World News CBC News
    With fireworks heralding his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington Thursday on the eve of his presidential inauguration and pledged to unify a nation sorely divided and clamouring for change. The capital braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators — with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing. Source