By Denis C. Theriault
Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday had harsh words for the federal government's handling of a 19-day occupation at the Malheur National Wildfire Refuge -- calling the response too slow and saying it's left neighbors in Harney County lacking as tensions worsen.
Brown, speaking at a news conference where she also laid out her 2016 policy agenda, also said Oregon officials should "scrub" the state's budget next month to help offset the costs of the standoff. She put those ongoing expenses at $100,000 a week, with even more money spent during the first week of the standoff.
"This situation is absolutely intolerable and it must be resolved immediately," Brown said, saying she'll continue to press her case with the White House and FBI and also seek federal reimbursements. "The very fabric of this community is being ripped apart."
She confirmed that federal authorities had asked her office and other local officials to say as little as possible about the occupation to keep from adding any fuel to the occupiers' rhetorical fire. But that didn't stop her from speaking out all the same.
"This spectacle of lawlessness must end," Brown said.
(c)2016 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)