The Grant County Court passed a resolution condemning the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Feb. 24.
The three-member county governing board unanimously approved the resolution after public discussion at three separate meetings.
The topic drew large crowds. People were lined up in the hall unable to enter the regular County Court meeting room at the second meeting, so the third meeting Wednesday was scheduled in the larger Circuit Court room upstairs.
The larger room was also filled to capacity, with people sitting in the jury chairs, standing along the walls and some still in the hallway.
Many people spoke out, offering opinions both for and against the resolution.
Kay Steele, Ritter, said she believed the resolution was “more relevant than ever” after the occupation ended to show Grant County’s attitude. She urged the court to approve the resolution.
John Day resident Callie Moss, however, said she believed the resolution turned into a personal attack against Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer. She said everyone has different beliefs, but she was not happy with the resolution language.
“If I’m standing here with my pistol, does that make me militia?” she asked.
Elaine Mezzo, John Day, said it was not an attack on the sheriff. She said it sends a message of peace.
John Day resident Jesse Madden said he would probably support a version of the resolution, but he did not believe the current draft was complete. He said it mentioned state and federal laws but failed to mention the Constitution.
Commissioner Chris Labhart said he drafted the resolution. He said the refuge occupation reminded him of the Aryan Nation trying to locate in Grant County, and he felt the county needed to show support for Harney County.