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Federal agencies closed offices in Oregon amid safety concerns

Employees at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Photo from Facebook

Federal agencies closed their offices in the days prior to the armed takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge due to safety concerns, The Washington Post reports.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and even the U.S. Postal Service suspended operations in late December after their employees reported an unusual presence in the area. Apparently, ranchers from outside the area began showing up in Oregon earlier in the month and employees feared that they were being followed. Some felt intimidated and threatened.

“A lot of the rhetoric was aimed at the federal government, and we just didn’t know what might happen,” a spokesperson for the BLM told The Post. “It became a serious safety concern for the employees."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, however, has remained opened, The Post reported. The closest agency office -- the one that serves the local Burns Paiute Tribe -- is in Warm Springs, more than 200 miles from the wildlife refuge.

According to The Post, more than 150 federal employees are working from home or are on administrative leave with pay due to the situation.

Get the Story:
The government closed its offices in Oregon days before the armed takeover due to fears of violence (The Washington Post 1/8)
Oregon standoff: What you need to know Friday morning (The Oregonian 1/8)
Police shut off power at BLM fire station near refuge (The Oregonian 1/8)
Oregon sheriff meets with armed group occupying wildlife refuge and asks them to leave (The Washington Post 1/7)
‘That’s not how we live our lives.’ In Oregon, occupation unites frustrated citizens (The Washington Post 1/7)
The Oregon Protest and the Battle Over Western Lands​ (The New York Times 1/7)
How the Government Has Responded to Armed Standoffs (The New York Times 1/7)

Related Stories:
Peter d'Errico: Armed White men invade Indian lands in Oregon (1/8)
House Democrats call for armed group to leave refuge in Oregon (1/7)
Charlotte Rodrique: Land rightfully belongs to Burns Paiute Tribe (1/7)
Burns Paiute Tribe tells armed group to leave ancestral territory (1/7)
Burns Paiute Tribe not happy with armed group on ancestral land (1/6)
Armed group wants more to join protest on ancestral Paiute land (1/5)
Armed group occupies wildlife refuge near reservation in Oregon (1/4)

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