BEND, OR -- We’re learning more about the woman who helped bring down the Governor. John Kitzhaber's fiancee Cylvia Hayes moved to Bend in the late 1990s, working for a time at the Central Oregon Environmental Center. It’s there she helped create Earth Connections, which she eventually launched as her own project and later turned into 3E Strategies.
is a Bend sustainable building architect who worked closely with Hayes in those early days of Earth Connections. He tells KBND News, "I thought that she was a very dedicated person to preserving the environment and promoting ecological practices. She was tireless in her devotion to the work and she worked without pay, worked long hours. And I felt she was very focused and dedicated." He says Hayes was always assertive and proactive, doing whatever it took to protect the environment.
Schechter and others who worked with Hayes in Central Oregon have defended Hayes, citing her passion and commitment to her cause. "I don’t know whether she had indeed abused her privilege in the Governor’s office, but from my experience with her, she has been a dedicated person to the protection of the environment," says Schechter. "And, I know she has worked very diligently on creating sustainable practices." He adds, "She is a very proactive person who puts herself on the line. She may have been overly aggressive in some areas, in obtaining contracts - I can’t really comment on that, I don’t really have any firsthand knowledge." Schechter last spoke with Hayes six months ago, before much of the allegations of influence peddling were revealed. He says Hayes left a deep imprint in the green building movement in Central Oregon, helping create the Solar Tour of Homes – now the Green and Solar Tour, run by The Cascadia Green Building Council.
Hayes ran for State Representative in Bend in 2002, losing to Ben Westlund. It was that unsuccessful bid for state office that first brought her in contact with Governor Kitzhaber. Hayes still runs Bend-based 3E Strategies
, where she is listed as the only staff person. She continues to own a house in southeast Bend.