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Spokane Audubon Society Upset with the Armed Occupation of the Bird Sanctuary

Photo courtesy of Baker County Tourism via Flickr

You can add the Spokane Audubon Society onto the list of those upset with the armed occupation of the bird sanctuary in Eastern Oregon.

The Spokane chapter of the Audubon society is weighing into the controversy over the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Former president Kim Thorburn says the Audubon society of Portland did a great deal of work with US President Teddy Roosevelt to put together the reserve about 100 years ago:

“Farming and ranching had actually altered considerably the habitat, and even more important, there was commercial harvesting of birds going on at that time, and there was a huge decline in waterfowl, particularly ducks and geese, and this is an important migrator,y as well as breeding area, for those waterfowl.”

Thorburn says as spring starts to roll in, many bird enthusiasts from the region would normally be preparing for a visit to Malheur to see various migrating birds, and many volunteers work with the reserve to count birds and work on bird recovery. She says a bird festival at that time of year attracts many folks to the area and brings an economic boon to the Burns , Oregon region. It’s uncertain if that event will proceed this year, with the occupation ongoing.

The armed individuals at the scene say they won’t leave until there's a plan in place to turn over the federal lands to locals.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.