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Kitzhaber to sub for Hayes in Forest Grove

Oregon’s First Lady, Cylvia Hayes, had been one of the scheduled speakers at Wednesday's grand opening of Juniper Gardens II, an affordable, farmworker-housing community in Forest Grove.

“She was just going to talk about how this fits in with their prosperity agenda,” said Karen Shawcross, executive director of Bienestar, the nonprofit that developed the complex.

But after bad publicity related to revelations from her past, Hayes bowed out of the invitation-only engagement.

A week later, however, Gov. John Kitzhaber notified Shawcross he’d be taking his fiancée’s place at the Oct. 22 event.

“We don’t know what went on behind the scenes,” said Shawcross, who didn’t request the governor to fill in but is thrilled to have him. “It was ‘She had to cancel’ and then out of the blue a call from his office saying he’d like to come.”

The invitation-only event will present the development’s new housing units as well as its completed Community Center. It will be catered by Recetas, a new social enterprise created by Bienestar that employs Juniper Gardens residents.

According to Kitzhaber campaign staffer Amy Wojcicki, the governor is not filling in every time the besieged Hayes bows out of an event. The Juniper Gardens II opening, Wojcicki said, "was an event he wanted to go to."

The last time Kitzhaber was in Forest Grove was in 2010, when he made a campaign stop at BJ's Coffee.

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