One Protester Arrested in Burns

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One Protester Arrested in Burns

The first arrest of one of the protesters in Burns occurred on January 15, when  Kenneth Medenbach drove a government vehicle into town and parked it in the Safeway Lot. He was arrested in the vehicle, which originally had a government logo on the door, but a new one had been placed over it saying “Harney County Resource Center.” He was arrested for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, which is a class C Felony.


Medenbach had been facing charges already in Medford, Oregon for illegally camping on federal property. One of the conditions of his release in November stipulated that he not “occupy” any Federal property again.

Unlawful use of motor vehicle

OregonLive reported,

He was arrested in the Safeway parking lot in one vehicle bearing federal government license plates. A second federal vehicle was parked next to him, but the man police suspect of driving that into town already had gone into the grocery before police arrived.

Both vehicles — a pickup and a passenger van, bore door signs reading “Harney County Resource Center.” That’s the new name occupiers have given to the bird sanctuary they occupy, which is about 30 miles southeast of Burns.

“The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is grateful for the quick actions from law enforcement,” said Megan Nagel, spokeswoman for the agency, which manages the refuge. “We will continue to work with law enforcement to recover vehicles bought and paid for by the American people to care for their national wildlife refuge.”

It’s the first arrest involving the occupation.


Also on January 15, a group of Oregon hunters tore down the militia’s sign at the entrance that said “Harney County Resource Center.” Worried that the group at the refuge would stop anglers and hunters from coming on the land after it was restored to ranchers, they began a campaign called ‘Keep Public Lands In Public Hands.’ Protests against the occupation at the Refuge occurred in Bend, Oregon on January 15.

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