More Armed Men Visit Site of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Standoff
A group of armed men from around the Pacific Northwest who arrived at a wildlife refuge on Saturday morning left several hours later after people leading an occupation of the refuge told them they weren't needed.
Todd MacFarlane, a Utah lawyer acting as a mediator, said occupation leader Ammon Bundy and others were concerned about the perception the armed visitors conveyed.
"This was the last thing in the world they wanted to see happen," MacFarlane told The Oregonian.
Bundy didn't request the presence of the Pacific Patriot Network, he said, and has "tried to put out the word: 'We don't need you.'"
The network, a consortium of groups from Oregon, Washington and Idaho, arrived at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge midmorning in a convoy of about 18 vehicles, carrying rifles and handguns and dressed in military attire and bulletproof vests.
Some of the men told journalists they were there to help with security for the group that has occupied the headquarters of the refuge since Jan. 2.
Their leader, Brandon Curtiss, said the group came to "de-escalate" the situation by providing security for those inside and outside the compound.
One of the original occupiers of the refuge, LaVoy Finicum, said earlier on Saturday that the network's help is appreciated, but "we want the long guns put away."