A third of Oregon refuge staff expected to leave

ESTES PARK, Colo. (AP) – The Latest on the aftermath of an armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge (all times local):

6 p.m.

The manager of an Oregon wildlife refuge that was occupied by armed protesters says about a third of the refuge staff will probably leave their jobs because of the lingering effects of the takeover.

Chad Karges said Thursday he expects six of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s 16 employees to leave because of the occupation.

He says some worry about being confronted by other protesters who sympathized with the group that took over the refuge for 41 days earlier this year. Others who were worn down by the occupation itself are weary of having to retell the story to others.

Karges was in Colorado Thursday to accept an award from the National Wildlife Federation, which praised him and the staff for fostering a good relationship with local residents before the occupation.


4:30 p.m.

A man who traveled across the country to participate in the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.

Jason Blomgren of Murphy, North Carolina, is the fourth person to plead guilty in the takeover that began Jan. 2 and lasted 41 days. The protesters led by Ammon Bundy wanted the federal government to relinquish control of Western lands.

Appearing Thursday at U.S. District Court in Portland, the 42-year-old Blomgren admitted that he performed guard duty at the refuge and prevented federal employees from doing their jobs. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a weapons charge.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 14. Prosecutors recommend six months of home detention.

Twenty-two other defendants continue to prepare for trial.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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