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Twin Falls BLM Office on Edge in Shadow of Eastern Oregon Occupation

by

ADAM ROSENLUND
  • Adam Rosenlund


For the second time in recent weeks, the Bureau of Land Management restricted public access to its Twin Falls District office to avoid a repeat of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, which began Jan. 2 and boiled over when 12 of the occupiers were taken into custody and one, Robert "LaVoy" Fincum, was fatally shot by Oregon State Troopers during a traffic stop near the refuge. The incident has put federal offices and facilities on edge—when the Twin Falls BLM office canceled an open house in late January, BLM spokeswoman Heather Tiel-Nelson confirmed it was "indeed related to wanting to take an abundance of caution in light of the situation" in eastern Oregon.

Now, KMVT-TV in Twin Falls reports the doors of the Twin Falls BLM offices were locked Feb. 6 after managers were told a protest was scheduled to take place in front of the facility. Tiel-Nelson told KMVT-TV the decision to close "was for the safety and protection of the staff," adding that the office is expected to reopen Monday, Feb. 8.

Meanwhile, about 100 Idaho supporters of the eastern Oregon occupiers brought that debate to the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Feb. 6, comparing the occupation to the Occupy Boise encampment on the lawn of what is now the University of Idaho Law Center in November 2011 and continued, on and off, for three years.