"When armed anti-federal government militiamen occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, they added strain to Harney County, Oregon’s already-weighty list of woes, which include a shrunken economy and the decline of a once-abundant timber industry.
On Monday night, county judge Steve Grasty told a crowd of exasperated residents the occupation was costing Harney County between $60,000 and $70,000 per day to step up security for the community and area schools — but doesn’t include the costs of Oregon State Police and federal law enforcement that have been ushered in. “We’re going to send Mr. Bundy the bill,” he said. For Harney County, a rural Southeast Oregon community that was once the wealthiest, but is now among poorest in the state, it would be a good payout.
That Harney County is strapped for cash and in the midst of a Sagebrush Rebellion-type standoff is not unusual. While it’s difficult to identify causation between regional economic shifts and the actions of individuals like Ammon Bundy, who is leading the current occupation in Oregon, counties where Sagebrush Rebellion events happen are more often than not places that have had dramatic economic downturns. They are places where extractive industries have fallen from their previous importance."