Deschutes County officials have confirmed former Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, were dumping materials at Knott Landfill before employees noticed the couple and called law enforcement.
The incident happened last Friday, according to Timm Schimke, director of the county’s solid waste department.
“They looked like any other people who were cleaning out their garage or cleaning out a rental. It was just stuff,” Schimke said. “They weren’t manipulating the stuff. They were just tossing it out and they were only in there for two or three minutes and then they left.”
Schimke said Hayes went to pay for the items the two dropped off when the landfill’s computer system malfunctioned.
When employees reset the computer, they identified the person who was trying to pay as Hayes, the subject of a federal and state investigation at the time.
“Gov. Kitzhaber was in the vehicle right behind her and he was recognizable. That’s how we learned that they were there,” Schimke said.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies inspected what the couple left behind for about an hour, Schimke said.
“It looked to me like they were cleaning out a garage, I guess,” Schimke said. “Campaign signs when she was running for office years ago. A mattress or a box spring.”
Hayes lost a race for Bend’s House seat in 2002.
“It just seemed strange that they were at a transfer station dumping waste so soon after him resigning and them being under investigation,” he added.
After The Bulletin requested videos and incident reports from the county and sheriff’s office, the FBI told county officials not to release any information about the incident, according to County Administrator Tom Anderson. An FBI spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t comment on ongoing criminal investigations.
Kitzhaber resigned from office earlier this month under federal and state investigation due to allegations of influence peddling from his office involving Hayes.
Kitzhaber received a sweeping federal grand jury subpoena Feb. 13, the day he announced he would resign.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum opened a state investigation Feb. 6 but said Friday she is pausing that probe at the request of federal authorities.
“I fully support the efforts of the federal authorities. We share the ultimate goal of protecting the integrity of our state institutions through a comprehensive investigation,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “My decision to temporarily defer our state investigation is in line with this shared goal. At the appropriate time, we will review the facts, and investigate further if necessary, to ensure that any violations of state law are addressed.”
— Reporter: 406-589-4347,