Tag Archives: Patriot

A Sagebrush Insurgency: Covering the Oregon Occupation

The best holidays are the ones you get to work and play. That is, if you love your work. On my winter vacation, I had the opportunity to explore the Sugar Pine mining claims where militias protected and stood ground for miners who were given notice to file a plan of operations. I met with the coordinator of the Josephine County Oath Keepers, Joseph Rice, who gave me lessons on the constitution and more background as to why the Hammonds were in court again. Photographing this story for High Country News eventually led me to a peaceful protest in Burns, Oregon on January 2.

That’s where it got interesting. I was photographing a “town hall” meeting for the self-described Patriots who attended the Burns protest and people started getting angry. Ammon Bundy had not joined their meeting. Instead, he was with a few other armed men, taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. So off I went to stand around a fire with men with big guns, and report whatever happened.

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Robert LaVoy Finicum, who was killed at a roadblock set up by the FBI and Oregon State Police on Jan. 26. Brooke Warren/High Country News

The Oregon occupation has been in the news now for over a month. You may have read how the debacle is affecting birding and scientific research. Or maybe you’re following the play by play and know the last of the occupiers still haven’t left town, even after Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed. There are still tons of people from out of town flooding the restaurants and hotels around Burns, which may be good for business, but it has created division and stress for the community.

I didn’t stay at Malheur for long – I came back to Colorado to design and create infographics for a larger package – but I did witness the beginning of the protest over public lands. It’s been wonderful seeing other photographers, such as Jim Urquhart and Matt M. McKnight covering the event after it became a media madhouse.

Also, High Country News just launched its “Sagebrush Insurgency” package, which provides background to the movement that paints the beliefs of those who began the occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. You’ll find an interactive graphic that connects politicians and militia groups as well as some robust stories about constitutional sheriffs, Sugar Pine mine, and how well-armed the BLM really is.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took while in Oregon, both on another assignment before, and during the Malheur occupation. You can also check out this gallery of the day the occupation began.

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Allyn Belangie of Phoenix, Arizona an Airforce veteran, drove 15 hours to attend the protest for the Hammonds. He said he was also at the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Brandon Curtiss, of the Idaho Three Percent, hugs Dwight Hammond while Brooke Agresta of the Three Percent hugs Hammond’s wife, Susie. Dwight was reported to Terminal Island, a low-security prison in California, on Jan. 4 for arson charges. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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KP Presta, 15, left, and Samantha Young, 24, pick up change in front of the Harney County sheriff’s office that was thrown by protesters earlier in the day. “They said this was going to be a peaceful protest,” Young said. “Throwing pennies at the sheriff’s office is not peaceful.” Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Rosella Talbot drapes an American flag over the sign for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. She brought supplies to the refuge headquarters, where militia had occupied U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service buildings. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Armed men stand guard at the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, the buildings the Bundy brothers and other armed individuals occupied in early January to protest federal management of public lands. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Mel Bundy fills his plate with rice, beef, and chili on the first night of the Malheur occupation. The armed protestors were reusing paper plates and plastic utensils because, as one man said, “ We thought this place would be stocked, and it ain’t.” Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Deputy Jim Geiger gestures at the leftover in the empty part of the Josephine County Courthouse where the Sheriff’s department used to be. In 2012 they moved to one small room in the back of he county jail and reduced the patrol staff from more than 30 to three or four at a time, due to budget cuts. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Miners Rick Barclay and George Backes, who were offered three options after the Bureau of Land Management discovered unapproved surface activity on their mining claims:: Cease mining; file a plan of operations to account for the level of surface activity; or file an appeal. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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George Backes pushes an ore bucket into the lower adit of Sugar Pine Mine in Josephine County, Oregon, where Oath Keepers set up camp last April to support the miners in their dispute with the Bureau of Land Management. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Miner George Backes stands near a chopping block on the Black Jack mining claim land, part of the Sugar Pine mines. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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Josephine County Oath Keepers Joseph Rice and Rob Lee install a wheelchair ramp for a paralyzed man, one of eight such projects the group completed last year. Brooke Warren/High Country News

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An elk head peers out from behind a refridgerator in the Adel Store off Hwy 140 in Adel, Oregon. The small store has about forty mounted heads decorating the walls. Brooke Warren/High Country News

 

Week 6 at SVH

Access and permission from subjects in my photos was the challenge for me this week. I started working on a project about the Food Bank, but many Food Bank patrons did not want me to photograph them. You will see that none of the photos I posted this week were from that shoot. I decided it was a good exercise for me to just stay and listen to people’s stories instead of trying to take their picture and leave. Some situations become much easier to photograph if you get to know the subjects before wielding a huge camera.

In any case, here are some moments from the week’s assignments. Enjoy!

Annie Walser, a Shannon Point Marine Center Volunteer, smells a leather starfish that can smell like garlic at the 2nd "Shellfishtival" at Taylor Shellfish Farms on July 24, 2013. The event aimed to celebrate water and educate children about water quality issues.  Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Annie Walser, a Shannon Point Marine Center Volunteer, smells a leather starfish that can smell like garlic at the 2nd “Shellfishtival” at Taylor Shellfish Farms on July 24, 2013. The event aimed to celebrate water and educate children about water quality issues.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Mack Brown explains the parts of a sprint-car engine at Shark Racing Engines in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. where he works. He has learned a lot from the shop owner, Marc Huson, about rebuilding racing engines, which he puts to use for his own racing career.  Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Mack Brown explains the parts of a sprint-car engine at Shark Racing Engines in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. where he works. He has learned a lot from the shop owner, Marc Huson, about rebuilding racing engines, which he puts to use for his own racing career.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Kelly DiStefano, Dylan Bradley, Lauren Lepage and Mike DiStefano check out the new Mt. Erie Climbing Guidebook after climbing at Mt. Erie on July 24, 2013.  Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Kelly DiStefano, Dylan Bradley, Lauren Lepage and Mike DiStefano check out the new Mt. Erie Climbing Guidebook after climbing at Mt. Erie on July 24, 2013.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Jodi Chambers searches for plants to decorate her house when guests visit at Christianson's Nursery on July 25, 2013 in Mount Vernon, Wash.  Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Jodi Chambers searches for plants to decorate her house when guests visit at Christianson’s Nursery on July 25, 2013 in Mount Vernon, Wash.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Katie Jo Conley leads her cow that she will sow at the Skagit County Fair. She has to put in hours washing and leading her cow every day for months to prepare for the fair.  Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Katie Jo Conley leads her cow that she will sow at the Skagit County Fair. She has to put in hours washing and leading her cow every day for months to prepare for the fair.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Jacob Phipps, a Skagit County Parks employee, supervises participants in the One Day Offender program while they bleach and each the bleachers at the Skagit County Fairgrounds in Mount Vernon, Wash. The program is conducted by the Skagit County Sheriff's Office as an alternative to jail for people with minor offenses.  Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Jacob Phipps, a Skagit County Parks employee, supervises participants in the One Day Offender program while they bleach and clean the bleachers at the Skagit County Fairgrounds in Mount Vernon, Wash. The program is conducted by the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office as an alternative to jail for people with minor offenses.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

(From left) Paul Rider, political affairs coordinator for Patriot Day; Maj. Jason Vose, Douglas Vose's brother; and Michael Frank, Douglas Vose's best friend through childhood, listen to former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at Patriot Day on July 27, 2013 in Concrete, Wash. The event was to honor Douglas Vose III, a Green Beret who lost his life in 2009 in Afghanistan. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

(From left) Paul Rider, political affairs coordinator for Patriot Day; Maj. Jason Vose, Douglas Vose’s brother; and Michael Frank, Douglas Vose’s best friend through childhood, listen to former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at Patriot Day on July 27, 2013 in Concrete, Wash. The event was to honor Douglas Vose III, a Green Beret who lost his life in 2009 in Afghanistan. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Aiden Vose, 6, studies the plaque at the base of his father's statue on July 27, 2013 in Concrete, Wash. Douglas Vose III was a Green Beret who lost his life in 2009 in Afghanistan. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Aiden Vose, 6, studies the plaque at the base of his father’s statue on July 27, 2013 in Concrete, Wash. Douglas Vose III was a Green Beret who lost his life in 2009 in Afghanistan. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Randy Thompson plays shirtless during the beginners polo match at the Pacific Northwest Polo Association Governor's Cup held Saturday at George Dill's farm in La Conner. Thompson was originally playing for the red team, but the other team lost a player so he removed his shirt to denote he was playing for the team with yellow jerseys. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Randy Thompson plays shirtless during the beginners polo match at the Pacific Northwest Polo Association Governor’s Cup held July 27 and 28 at George Dill’s farm in La Conner. Thompson was originally playing for the red team, but the other team lost a player so he removed his shirt to denote he was playing for the team with yellow jerseys. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Cameron Smith hits the ball during a match at the Pacific Northwest Polo Association Governor's Cup on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at George Dill's farm in La Conner. Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald

Cameron Smith hits the ball during a match at the Pacific Northwest Polo Association Governor’s Cup on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at George Dill’s farm in La Conner.
Brooke Warren / Skagit Valley Herald