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Patriot group celebrates victory; federal employees on edge


It was a victory for many patriot groups around Central Oregon and elsewhere, as Ammon Bundy and six others were found not guilty of firearm charges and conspiracy to impede federal workers during their occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Thursday’s verdict raised some concerns for federal employees working for the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior, as both agencies sent letters to all workers asking them to stay vigilant.

But for others, it was a pleasing turn of events.

“It’s a sense of vindication,” Pacific Patriot Network member B.J. Soper of Redmond said Friday.

Soper said he hopes the verdict will make the federal government listen when it comes to public land issues.

He also said the chances of another groups to taking over a federal building is very unlikely.

These hard stances were the absolute last line of defense, Soper said.

The BLM reacted to the verdicts by saying it will continue to move forward in working collaboratively with community members in Harney County.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stated in her letter that she is concerned about the verdict’s potential implications for employees and for the effective management of public lands.

She also said she respected the court decision and that the safety of employees remains the top priority.

The Bundy brothers remain behind bars in Portland, as they still face charges in Nevada from a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents.

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