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This article is the second in an ongoing series documenting the intervention of the far-right People’s Rights network into the Klamath River Basin drought situation. You can find the first in the series, “The People’s Rights Oregon Insurrection Blueprint,” here. For more on the People’s Rights network, make sure to check out the IREHR and Montana Human Rights Network special report, Ammon’s Army: Inside the Far-Right People’s Rights Network.

Sizing up the People’s Rights Network in Oregon

Ammon Bundy’s far-right People’s Rights network has been active in Oregon for more than a year on a range of issues related to their insurrection blueprint and attacks on COVID-19 health measures. The constant churn of local activity amid the pandemic helped expand the People’s Rights network’s base across the state.

IREHR’s latest count found 5,377 People’s Rights Oregon members in June 2021, increasing 162% over the past seven months.

In Ammon’s Army, IREHR documented that the group had 2,047 members in Oregon in November 2020, based on area membership on the People’s Rights website. Oregon had one of the highest membership totals in the country last year. The state had the third largest membership in the country, trailing just Washington state (5,325) and Idaho (2,328).

The most significant overall membership gain from November 2020 to June 2021 was the area in the middle of the state previously known as Area 5 (now 5A, 5B, and 5C). An additional 1,550 members joined in that area, which led the organization to split the area into three new areas. The second-largest growth was in the northwest corner of the state, Area 1, which grew by just over one thousand members (1007).

The area with the largest percentage growth from 2020 was the southern Oregon area previously known as People’s Rights Oregon Area 6 (now Area 6, 10, and 11). The area in southern Oregon grew by 355%, from just 44 to 200 in seven months.

The Herald and News recently noted, “many irrigators say the protesters don’t represent a majority of people who actually use the water that is being fought over.”

While data on local support is relatively scarce, few residents of Klamath County have joined the People’s Rights network in Oregon. People’s Rights Area 6 currently encompasses Klamath County and its more than 68,000 residents, yet the group has attracted just 188 members (though that is up from 44 in November).

If a confrontation breaks out, which local activists suggest could happen any day, People’s Rights will likely draw in outside forces from other parts of Oregon and the rest of the country.

The growing number of People’s Rights network members recruited and radicalized during the pandemic suggests that an armed occupation lead by People’s Rights network activists has the potential to be larger and more volatile than the 2016 Oregon armed standoffs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Sugar Pine Mine.

In our next piece, we’ll explore the anti-indigenous activism embedded in the People’s Rights network. For the latest updates on the situation follow us on Twitter.

People’s Rights Oregon Membership

June 2021

1Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, Yamhill1787
2Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco57
3Baker, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa229
5CCrook, Wheeler217
7Grant, Harney, Malheur61
8Benton, Lane, Lincoln, Linn694
13Coos, Curry15
Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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