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Anti-Refuge Occupation Organizers Raise More Than $130K

Amanda Peacher / OPB

Organizers who opposed the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge raised more than $130,000 in support of nonprofit organizations and the Burns-Paiute Tribe. The “Getting the Occupiers of Historic Oregon Malheur Evicted” (GOHOME) fundraising campaign gathered donations from more than 1,600 individuals.

The donations benefited Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Burns Pauite Tribe, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Malheur Field Station.

“For the Malheur Field Station, the donations amount to a large boost.  They will completely cover the Field Station’s freezer losses, thefts from break-ins, and the building damage caused by occupiers,” reported Duncan Evered, Field Station co-director.

Tim Blount is the executive director of Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. “Through this occupation there’s been a silver lining,” Blount said. “That silver lining has been the awareness that people have for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”

Blount said that membership in the Malheur friends group jumped from 200 to more than 1,800 members during and after the occupation.

The GOHOME campaign, led by Oregon-raised brothers Jake and Zach Klonoski, began its fundraising push on Sunday, Jan. 17.

“Our only goal was a quick and peaceful end to this occupation of our home by people from out of state,” said Jake Klonoski, who now lives in Colorado.  “Oregon is definitely the wrong state to mess with.”

Amanda Peacher is an Arthur F. Burns fellow reporting and producing in Berlin in 2013. Amanda is from Portland, Oregon, where she works as the public insight journalist for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She produces radio and online stories, data visualizations, multimedia projects, and facilitates community engagement opportunities for OPB's newsroom.