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YamCo deputies will not travel to Burns

Public safety — Need for additional resources met for now as larger departments send personnel to standoff at refuge


As the militia standoff in Harney County continues, several sheriffs’ departments around the state have sent personnel to offer assistance, but so far Yamhill County has not.

Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson said his office is not sending any deputies at this time due to limited resources, but said it’s common for sheriffs to offer assistance when something major like the situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge comes up.

The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association held a conference call to discuss what kinds of resources are available and what would be useful to the county in need.

In this case, Svenson said, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office has asked for assistance with providing a presence in Burns to ease the fears that residents have expressed.

“A lot of local citizens are feeling threatened by this group of militia that has come in from outside the state,” he said.

Deputies who have traveled to Harney County have been asked to help with courthouse security, additional patrols and simply getting out into the community and talking with local citizens.

“We have made it clear that whatever is going on out at the refuge is the federal government’s dealing,” Svenson said. “The sheriffs are just assisting with making citizens feel safe.”

While it’s possible more resources could be requested in Harney County as the situation progresses, Svenson said from his understanding the need has been met for the time being.

“I want to assist any sheriff who needs help, but I also have Yamhill County to deal with first,” he said.