Sagebrush Collaboration

How Harney County Defeated the Takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

This book tells the story of the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in early 2016, but puts the event in the historical and cultural context of Harney County. The collaborative culture that existed there helped the local community make it through the crisis. Chapter Four on “Collaboration” focuses on local collaborative problem-solving, especially the role of the High Desert Partnership, and is of special interest to rural community builders.

238 pages. ©2018.
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Reader Reviews for this Book

Reejen

Review posted February 12, 2020

5

Very captivating and interesting. It was nice to read the conflict from the towns side of view.

Pamela Fitzpatrick

Review posted February 8, 2020

5

"Sagebrush Collaboration..." is a must read whether you live in Oregon, California, Mississippi, or, actually, anywhere in the world. We are very lucky that the Bundy's and their friends decided to take over a refuge in Harney County rather than many other rural counties in the US. Harney County had done the hard work of making community/county decisions in a collaborative fashion for decades, and their hard work paid off. Read this book, you'll be inspired and hopeful, no small feat considering our current political climate. Thank you Harney County! (below there is a place on this page to mark a rating and I'd like to give this book a 5 star rating....but I can't seem to get the rating option to work....)

Chris1964

Review posted February 1, 2020

4

I attended a screening of the documentary “No Man’s Land” which was followed by a talk by Peter Walker. He then opened up for a lengthy question & answer session. The movie left an awful lot of unanswered questions, many regarding the reactions and involvement of the residents of Harney County, and especially those who live in Burns/Hines. As Professor Walker had spent much of the time of the occupation living with and talking to these residents, he was able to fill in many of the gaps in our knowledge of exactly what was happening in that community. His book is a good explanation of how the Harney County residents were able to push the occupiers out and start returning to a semblance of normality in their lives, even though many fissures had been created and still exist today between Bundy ‘supporters’ and those opposed. His detailed descriptions of the collaborative groups that worked tirelessly to understand each other’s viewpoints are helpful to me in understanding how the community was able to defeat the intruders. I wish this type of collaboration could be spread into our current toxic political scene although I wonder if it isn’t too late for civil conversation.

cbidstrup

Review posted January 20, 2020

5

Having watched the news reports on Malheur Refuge takeover and the related events, I was still not aware of how impactful the Harney County people were in affecting the outcome. This book was very enlightening and I learned a lot about appreciating the value of collaboration; both the time it takes to establish it as a means of community as well as how effective it really is. This is a very good and valuable read.

JimSwirzski

Review posted December 8, 2019

5

This book makes much clearer some of the major issues that have been ongoing for decades with communities in our rural areas, and the inequities that have widened the gap between rural and urban communities. These are problems that are being addressed in some of our rural communities, but it seems that much more needs to be done, and with the support of our urban communities as well. As much as we, in the urban areas, would like to discount or not think about the struggles of these rural citizens, we depend on them in many respects, to continue to farm and ranch as part of our food chain. We cannot lose sight of these facts, and we need to support these smaller producers over the monopolies of the corporate farms and ranches whose main goal is to maximize profits at the expense of quality and food safety. I'm glad that the Bundy's failed in their attempts to start another revolution, especially at a location distant from where they themselves reside. I hope this discourages them from any more attempts to provoke distant communities for their own purposes and agendas. Hurray for Harney County.

gped511

Review posted November 25, 2019

4

This was a concise and insightful piece of local Oregon history. The author did well covering this event outwith bias and telling the story of those involved.

Neal Lemery

Review posted November 22, 2019

4

This is a comprehensive look at a challenging time in Harney County. The author interviews a wide range of participants and citizens, giving the reader an in-depth examination of the challenges a small community faced when confronted with extremist political views and a hostile takeover of a local cherished and fragile natural resource. His discussion and analysis of collaborative efforts is insightful and useful as a model for other communities.

Jeffheiman

Review posted November 18, 2019

3

Very interesting content. Does a fine job explaining the Malheur Occupation in the context of Harney County. Well researched. The writing is serviceable rather than elegant. It is a bit repetitive and I found it to be a bit too academic... reads like a thesis. Still, interesting, topical and important enough to make it worth a read.

John Reynolds

Review posted October 29, 2019

5

Well written account of an attempted takeover by extremists. Because it was not in strict sequence, some repetition was inevitable. Some commentaries by those quoted went on a bit long. Very little was said about troubles between previous Field Station managers and some cattlemen; I would have liked more detail, in order to better understand the value of the collaboration.

sesettle

Review posted October 25, 2019

5

Living in Harney County, through the occupation, I found this a hard read. Peter Walker was a regular in our community and did a very good job on this book and the information. There's a LOT of Harney County history in this also.

stokesfolks

Review posted October 22, 2019

4

I had only read a little about this incident in the newspaper, so it was interesting to experience it through the eyes of someone who was actually there interviewing the townspeople. I enjoyed getting to know about a part of Oregon I wasn't familiar with.

Topmanlb

Review posted October 10, 2019

5

This book tells what happened to and in Harney County OR better than most other accounts. It told the story from the community's outlook. Specifically, it seemed to indicate that the community's collaborative approach in working together served well as an inoculant to ward off the outsiders coming in to agitate. Bundy was often his own worst advocate because he did not listen to local people and wanted to impose his agenda where it was not welcome or respected. Locals said we have our problems and it is up to us to address them using local input. Found his narrative easy to read, even though there are many players and a good bit of duplication. A good read and worthy of my time.

Mleighton

Review posted September 25, 2019

5

I read this book in preparation for attending a pair of programs at City Club of Eugene about the events in Harney County. Before I ever got to the program, I had recommended the book to friends on the local school board, because it had compelling lessons for making their work more effective. It is an inspiring book about how regular people understood their responsibilities with respect to maintaining a civil and democratic community. Having lived in rural Oregon myself, I recognize that historic uses of natural resources may be incompatible with modern understanding of the inter-relatedness of elements in any environment. I also learned a lot about how important it is to have kind and sturdy relationships with neighbors. Peter Walker did a fine job of telling a complicated story, honoring the words and perspectives of the main characters. This book makes an especially good read with Scott Page's book "The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies" (2007).

jennie100

Review posted September 9, 2019

5

This book shows what really happened in Harney County. As for me, while the occupation was happening, I was confused about who was speaking for the town. The author plainly takes the reader down the road to meet locals and see what great community they had, and still have today. Mr. Walker explains the locals point of view, honestly.

cbenward

Review posted August 16, 2019

4

First, thank you for all you do and your book program. This is well written and not a dry academic text. It provided me with a number of insights about what happened at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. I was not surprised by the independence of the county's residence and their desire to make their own decisions. What did surprise me was the lack of support given to the Bundy takeover by the community. I am afraid I had a very narrow and incorrect view of the conservative eastern Oregon community. Figured they would get behind anything that rid them of federal government interventions. Other than telling the story of Harney county and takeover at the refuge, the book is also a good roadmap of how to undertake collaborations. Especially striking to me was it really takes a long lead time to make them work. I also came away with a good feeling about communities and the need for them to pull together. My only complaint is there was a bit of repetition. Overall, a good read.

crohde

Review posted August 14, 2019

4

I have been looking for a good comprehensive overview of this event and how the local community stood up to the outsiders who tried to take over the Wildlife Refuge. This is a good book to show that local involvement from citizens can make changes and can have a large influence.

msevey2013

Review posted June 20, 2019

4

Great Read! Was an interesting insider point of view for a place that is close to my home in Eastern Oregon.

BC

Review posted June 11, 2019

5

Great read. Couldn't put it down. The author immersed himself in the community and the occupiers camp and meetings to gather factual information that brings to light the value of collaboration over tyranny.

Moehrke

Review posted June 5, 2019

5

One of the most interesting books I've read in years. This book taught me a lot about community resiliency in the face of unusual change.

dougsannes

Review posted June 3, 2019

4

Great information.

Jbaker3

Review posted May 28, 2019

4

This book provides a great overview of the 2016 takeover in Eastern Oregon

kstaton

Review posted May 24, 2019

3

Interesting read and information

shanawithee

Review posted May 17, 2019

5

Having lived through the takeover, I was looking forward to reading this book. It captured many points of view in an unbiased manner. It offered rational for some of the points of view. I found it a very factual account of the event. The photos captured the tumultuous times. It brought back nightmares. I have shared with other friends in the area and they too find it to be a factual account of the occupation.

MrJjSparks

Review posted April 22, 2019

5

Outstanding. Peter Walker does great service to the resilient people of Harney County in the face of the misguided, wrongheaded, and threatening takeover of the Malheur Refuge headquarters in 2015-16 by Amon Bundy and his followers. The compelling part of "Sagebrush Collaboration" is the narrative of the occupation of both the refuge headquarters and the town of Burns itself by the openly armed, mostly out of state militia. The second half of the book, however, pays homage to and outlines how Harney county residents including federal employees, ranch owners, timber concerns, and water users have come together over the last decades to find win-win solutions to problems in the high desert. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any connection to rural Oregon. Harney County's hard work at finding solutions to their problems should be a model for landowners, federal and state workers, and environmentalists here and across the country.

retiredtom

Review posted April 17, 2019

5

As the past director of the Ford Institute I consider this book a triumph of investigation and writing. A major insight is that it was the relationships in the community that were already ongoing that made the community resilient in the face of demanding outside interests. I recognized several names in the book from people who were in the leadership classes, which were about relationships (positive acquaintance), collaboration (just below the top of the Tupelo Model), and local control. This is a must read for anyone in a rural community and should be the topic of scores of group read discussions. If I had a criticism of the book it is that the subject of federal "overreach" emphasized lack of local participation, where my experience it is that agencies, through pressure from environmental and developmental groups, keep expanding their mission (mission creep). Still, I give it five stars and my strongest recommendation to read it and encourage others to, too. And, my compliments to Foundation for making it available.