BLM stumped by squatter
Ken Medenbach, a former militia member who "seized"
10 acres of federal land in spring, is still causing headaches in
central Oregon. BLM managers planned to escort Medenbach back onto
federal land to retrieve his possessions and then close the case.
But Medenbach, who was barred from the land by court injunction,
showed up with a local reporter to say he had no plans to remove
his squatter's cabin and that the disbanded central Oregon militia
would come to his aid. "We're trying not to give too much attention
to Medenbach," says Jim Kenna of the Bureau of Land Management. "He
seems to just thrive on media attention." Even though Medenbach,
who hasn't paid taxes since 1975, began logging the 10 acres last
spring, the BLM was slow to respond, perhaps partly because the
Oregon carpenter had been seen drilling with an AK-47 assault
rifle. Local officials finally managed to jail Medenbach May 16 on
older, unrelated driving convictions, but he was released under a
permanent injunction barring him from the property. Kenna says
federal agents inventoried damages to the land - he cut more than
30 trees - but they have no plans to pursue a criminal case.