East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 06, 2018, WEEKEND EDITION, Page Page 3A, Image 3

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Saturday, January 6, 2018
East Oregonian
Page 3A
Hayes faces $100,000-plus in fines for ethics violations
Capital Bureau
SALEM — The Oregon Ethics
Commission Friday unanimously
voted that there is enough evidence to
show former first lady Cylvia Hayes
violated ethics law 22 times largely
by using her public position to win a
paid fellowship and several contracts
for her environmental consulting
firm between 2011 and 2013.
Hayes served as a “super
lobbyist” for private consulting
clients who paid her to advocate on
green energy, said Commissioner
Daniel Mason.
“This is a case study in what you
are not supposed to do as a public
official. For that reason the statute
gives us the authority to levy signif-
icant fines and I think that’s what
we should do,” said Commissioner
Nathan Sosa.
Hayes and her attorney were
absent from the meeting Friday
where the ethics commission
reached its decision.
The vote establishes what
the commission calls
“preliminary findings of
violation.” Hayes may
appeal the findings or
reach a settlement with
the agency before the
agency issues a final order
with penalties.
She faces fines of up to
$110,000. On top of that,
could Hayes
propose she pay double
the amount of money she received
from work acquired as a result of
her positions as first lady and policy
adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber.
That could equal hundreds of thou-
sands of dollars, ethics investigator
Marie Scheffers said.
The commission would have
to prove that Hayes would not
have secured the contracts without
her public positions, said Ethics
Commission Director Ron Bersin.
In addition to using her position
for private gain, Hayes
also accepted an unac-
ceptable amount of gifts
from people interested
in influencing policy and
failed to disclose several
conflicts of interest,
according to an ethics
earlier this week. Inves-
tigators found 23 viola-
tions, but commissioners
dismissed one of those violations
related to the first lady’s use of a
dignitary protection unit — essen-
tially the governor’s security detail
— for non-public business.
Commissioners briefly discussed
removing one of the conflict-of-
interest counts but decided not to
because Hayes failed to show up or
send a representative to respond to
the accusations.
Hayes and her attorneys,
Whitney Boise and Josh Ewing,
had not responded to a request for
comment as of press time Friday.
Hayes and Kitzhaber have
been under an ethics investigation
since July.
They had been under a federal
criminal investigation for more
than two years before that, after
Willamette Week reported the first
lady may have used her position to
win several consulting contracts.
The scandal eventually prompted
Kitzhaber to resign from office in
February 2015 and led to former
Secretary of State Kate Brown’s
succession as governor. Federal
prosecutors ultimately filed no
charges against the couple. By the
time the federal investigation had
concluded, the statute of limitation
had run out for any state charges.
In November, the ethics commis-
sion rejected a proposed settlement
with Kitzhaber in which he agreed
to pay $1,000 for ethics violations
related to conflicts of interest and
accepting gifts with value of more
than $50 from any one source
during the year. A majority of
commissioners said they felt the
settlement was too lenient.
The ethics commission is sched-
uled to reconsider his case next
Chairwoman Alison Kean said
the report on Hayes’s violations
also is evidence against Kitzhaber
and should be considered when
determining penalties for Kitzhaber.
“He was the vehicle by which she
was able to profit, so I view these
cases as interlinked,” Kean said.
“My recommendation would be
to staff as we are negotiating … that
the governor be treated with a much
higher standard.”
With rare disorder, man looks for a new lease on sight
Couple hopes to
fundraise $10K for
eyesight equipment
East Oregonian
Nick Ballard was fitted
with his first pair of glasses in
second grade, but his eyesight
was all downhill from there.
It would be years before
he would be diagnosed with
Stargardt disease, a rare
disorder that heavily deteri-
orated his vision to the point
that he’s now legally blind.
With the curtains drawn
in their Pendleton home to
help protect Nick’s vision, his
wife, Bethany Parker-Ballard,
played a video that showed
the effect of Stargardt. As an
eye researcher spoke to the
camera, his face was blurred
to show the early effects of the
disorder while the peripherals
around him remained clear.
As the conditioned worsened,
the researcher’s face become
a black spot.
After the first video
finished, she played a second
video. This time, smiling
people strapped on a piece
of equipment that resembled
a virtual reality headset as
a narrator promised that it
could reverse the effects of
Bethany believes this
equipment, called eSight, can
Staff photos by E.J. Harris
LEFT: Nick Ballard of Pendleton was diagnosed with
Stargardt disease, a degenerative eye disease, when he
was in his teens and has been slowly losing his sight.
ABOVE: Bethany Parker-Ballard has begun a fundraising
effort for her husband, Nick, hoping to raise $10,000.
restore her husband’s vision.
She is mounting a fundraising
campaign for the $10,000 to
purchase it.
Nick was diagnosed with
Stargardt disease when he
was 15-years-old and on a trip
to visit his father in Texas. In
the midst of learning to drive,
he struggled to operate his
dad’s Ford Bronco, spurring
his father to take him to the
He was referred to a
specialist in Dallas, who told
him that he had Stargardt.
Nick realized he would never
be able to drive again.
“It’s pretty unnerving,”
he said.
Growing up in Port
Nick had always struggled
in school, a fact that he
attributed to being a “noxious
prick” as much as his poor
vision. But when he went to
the Washington School for
the Blind in Vancouver, he
became an A and B student.
He returned to public
school and graduated before
bouncing around between
Bremerton, Wash., and Port-
Nick moved to Pendleton
in 2010 to attend Blue Moun-
tain Community College,
Don’t want to pump your own gas?
Local gas stations say don’t worry
East Oregonian
A new law allowing rural
counties in Eastern Oregon
to permit 24-hour self-serve
gas stations does not mean
changes are imminent.
The rule, which went
into effect Jan. 1, states that
counties east of Portland with
populations under 40,000
can now let customers pump
their own gas any time of
day. For the past two years,
rural counties in Oregon were
permitted to offer self-serve
stations between 6 p.m. and
6 a.m.
But employees at local
stations say little will change
for them. Brian Owshin, the
manager at Love’s Travel
Stop in Boardman, said many
people are now taking advan-
tage of the new law. But he
said they will continue to
have staff available for those
who don’t want — or don’t
know how — to pump their
own gas.
“We always have someone
to assist, at least until 6 p.m.,”
he said, referring to the old
Owshin said he didn’t
know whether the law
would affect the number of
employees at the station in
the long term. But he said
for the immediate future, no
changes were planned.
“No one’s losing jobs with
Love’s, which is great,” he
Owshin said many of their
customers were local farmers
or other workers who already
pumped their own gas at
night, and that most people
seemed to view the new rule
as a positive.
Steve Scott of the Irrigon
Shell gas station said he
hadn’t heard anything from
owners about whether they
planned to allow customers to
self-serve. He said as of now,
they will continue to have
attendants fill tanks.
Shane Dubry, an employee
at the Heppner Circle K, said
until 6 p.m. attendants are still
helping people pump. He said
they anticipate no changes to
their procedures or staffing.
Skyler Hall, an employee
at the Lexington Sinclair gas
station, said if people want
to pump their own gas they
can, but they still plan to have
an attendant on duty in case
people don’t want to. He said
so far, very few people have
elected to pump their own
The new law is effective in
all Eastern Oregon counties
except for Umatilla, which
has about 76,000 people.
where he met Bethany, a late
bloomer who was attending
college for the first time at 39.
Graduating with a degree
in multi-disciplinary studies,
he stayed on at BMCC to
work as a tutor and married
Bethany. She teared up as
she recalled how Nick wasn’t
able to fully see her on their
wedding day.
“When you get married,
you don’t want to be obliv-
ious to the hard times, but
you don’t really think of
them,” she said.
Hard times would come
for the Ballards in 2015,
when Nick was laid off from
BMCC and they lost their
With his condition, Nick
struggled to find new work
until he was hired by the
Eastern Oregon Alcoholism
A “detox technician,”
Nick described his position
as a combination den mother/
housekeeper with some work
with computers thrown in.
Despite Nick’s new job, the
couple still considers them-
selves low income. Bethany
wants to go back to school to
get her bachelor’s degree in
hospitality management.
They rely on food stamps
to help buy the groceries and
the $10,000 eSight glasses
aren’t covered by any kind of
Bethany started a crowd-
funding account at www.
and is also looking to open
a donation account and
do a fundraiser at a local
The eSight glasses work
by using high definition
cameras and LED screens to
provide users with enhanced
vision with virtually no lag.
Bethany envisions Nick
being able to mow the lawn
and other mundane tasks the
seeing take for granted. And
maybe one day, with the aid
of eSight glasses, he could
even drive a car.
Police search for armed robbery suspect
East Oregonian
Hermiston Police are
searching for a suspect
in an armed robbery that
happened late Thursday
Officers were called to
11th Street Market around
11:56 p.m. for reports of a
man who had taken out a
handgun and demanded
money. The male clerk
demand and gave a minor
amount of cash to the
robber, who then left on
foot heading south.
Officers arrived and
searched the area around
the business at 425 N.W.
11th Street.
Officers say that after
reviewing video footage,
Saager's Shoe Shop
they are not able to deter-
mine the race of the suspect.
They released a still photo
of the suspect taken from
video, which shows a
person in a gray hooded
sweatshirt, in a black ski
mask and a dark-colored
pea coat with buttons.
Officers said they also
determined the man is
between 5 feet 6 inches and
6 feet tall, and was wearing
black and white Nike
shoes, as well as a ring on
the middle finger of his left
Anyone with informa-
tion about the robbery is
asked to call Lt. Randy
Studebaker at 541-667-
Melonville Comedy Festival
Saturday, January 27
Hermiston community Center
The 25th edition of the Melonville Comedy Festival will
feature three headline stand up comedians. These
comics are in demand corporate show entertainers.
50% off
A comic who appears in clubs
in Las Vegas, Seattle, New York
and Los Angeles. Cory has been
on the stage of several Comedy
Men and Women's Shoes !
Women’s apparel
A Hawaiian native, Kermit has been
working in standup comedy since 1990.
His credits include Las Vegas, Seattle and
Aspen Comedy Festivals and everyday
life. Gabriel is based in Olympia.
Taos • Jafa • Altra • Hoka One One • Brooks
• Dansko • Teva • Keen • Pikolinos • Bussola • Eric
Michael • Ahnu • Earth • Earthie • Merrell
Derek is a comic who has
worked USO Tours, the
Bob and Tom Show and
you can hear him on Siri-
us/XM Satellite Radio.
Tickets $35 per person
613 N. Main St.,
Store Hours:
Milton-Freewater, OR
Mon - Sat: 8 AM - 6 PM www.saagershoeshop.com
Sun: 12 PM - 4 PM
Doors open at 7pm, Show starts at 8:00
Tickets available at Hermiston Chamber of
Commerce at the Cornerstone Plaza
Reserve Tickets at: 541-561-7488 •