Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230-year-old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a freelance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and children.

Ways to Connect

A newly released report from the left-leaning Oregon Center for Public Policy has found that Oregon corporations today are paying a smaller portion of the state's income and property taxes than they did 40 years ago.

The evangelist who was a part of the negotiations that ended the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in February returned to Oregon Tuesday. Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, spoke to a crowd of thousands at a rally in front of the state capitol.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a federal corruption case involving the former governor of Virginia could have implications in Oregon.

Oregon lawmakers continued to debate the future of the state's Department of Energy on Monday, when a special legislative panel grilled the leader of that agency against the backdrop of a potential criminal investigation.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she won't debate her Republican challenger until September at the earliest. The incumbent Democrat's announcement Wednesday came days after she turned down an appearance at the traditional opening debate of the campaign season.

Oregon schools could soon be required to test for the presence of lead in drinking water, paint and even dirt. That's according to a set of rules proposed Tuesday by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. It adds to a list that already included radon and other chemicals.

The old adage that every vote counts was especially true in Oregon this year. A tie in the Independent Party primary for a suburban Portland seat in the Oregon House was broken Friday with a roll of the dice.

Oregon employers have new guidance from the state on how much to pay their employees when the state's minimum wage goes up next month. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries released rules Wednesday meant to clear up one of the questions surrounding the legislatively-approved minimum wage hike.

Four county governments in Oregon are still struggling enough that the state should continue to monitor their financial condition. That's according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Oregon lawmakers are hitting the road Monday to get a first-hand look at the state's traffic chokepoints. It's part of an effort to develop a transportation funding package for a vote in next year's legislative session.

A bill that makes sweeping changes to Oregon's oversight of foster care providers takes effect next month. The reforms were proposed after numerous media reports of abuse and neglect at several foster care providers.

Following Friday’s derailment in the Columbia Gorge, environmental groups are petitioning the Obama administration to ban rail transport of the most flammable kind of crude oil. And Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday that it was clear that Oregon got lucky -- this time.

The disclosure of the presence of lead in the drinking water at several public schools in Portland could have statewide implications. But it's not yet clear what the state will do.

Cover Oregon, Oregon’s failed health insurance sign-up website, continues to serve as political fodder, more than two years after state officials pulled the plug. Congressional Republicans have now asked for a federal criminal investigation into the Cover Oregon website mess.

Oregonians won't be voting this fall on whether to limit campaign finance contributions in state and local races. The Oregon Secretary of State's office has rejected wording on a proposed initiative that would have changed the state's Constitution to allow that.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a request to spend about $2.5 million to cover the costs of dealing with the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. A legislative budget panel will take up the proposal Monday.

Now that Oregon's May primary is over, the winners are looking ahead to November's general election. But the primary was notable for another reason.

There was a third major party on the ballot.

Bud Pierce kicked off his first run for public office last fall. Now, the Salem oncologist has been nominated to take on incumbent governor Kate Brown in the November general election.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told an audience of thousands in Salem Tuesday night that he's the best candidate to take on apparent Republican nominee Donald Trump in the fall.

"Our campaign is generating the energy and the enthusiasm that we need to have a large voter turnout in November," Sanders told the standing-room-only crowd at the Salem Armory.

The race to become Oregon's next secretary of state is heating up. The three Democratic candidates in this month's primary are trading barbs after one of them received a huge contribution from a New York billionaire.

And no, it's not Donald Trump.

Donald Trump Makes First Campaign Stop in Oregon

May 7, 2016

More than 1,000 people lined up to get inside the Lane County Events Center in Eugene Friday evening to see Donald Trump speak at his first Oregon rally as a candidate. The apparent Republican nominee for president has attracted long lines of supporters and many protesters.

The Oregon Supreme Court Thursday upheld the death sentences of a father and son convicted in the bombing deaths of two Oregon police officers in 2008. But with a moratorium on the death penalty still in place, it's unlikely the executions will be carried out any time soon.

"He lived a hardscrabble life in a rusty steel town. John Kasich never gives up."

An hour after that campaign ad aired on Portland radio Wednesday afternoon, Ohio Gov. John Kasich did give up, pulling the plug on his presidential campaign. 

Ron Wyden, D-Ore., became the first U.S. senator to be elected entirely by mail when he was voted into office in 1996. Tuesday he told reporters he wants the vote-by-mail system to be expanded nationally, at least for federal races.

Wyden has tried unsuccessfully to get similar bills through Congress before, but he’s bringing it up again now because of long lines at polling places during this year's presidential primary season.

The candidates for governor in Oregon have spent nearly $1.7 million dollars so far this year in their quest for office. So what has all that money bought them as the May 17 primary approaches?

Ballots are going out in the mail this week to Oregon voters in advance of next month's primary. And it appears that independent voters are signing up in droves to vote in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

The grocery industry is calling it quits on a potential ballot measure that would have privatized liquor sales in Oregon. Currently, hard liquor like whiskey, vodka and gin can only be sold in state-chartered stores.

Grocers want to be able to sell it along with their current selections of beer and wine, but the industry group behind the effort said Wednesday they won't collect any more signatures for the initiative.

Oregon's Republican presidential primary is taking on a new look. The Ted Cruz campaign said the Texas senator will stand down in Oregon to clear a path for Ohio Governor John Kasich. The Cruz campaign will also pull back its efforts in New Mexico.

In return, the Kasich camp will back off in Indiana.

Oregon is falling short of many of its own goals when it comes to caring for children in its foster care system. That's according to a review released this week.

Taxes from marijuana sales continue to outpace expectations in Oregon. The state Department of Revenue Wednesday said the state has collected nearly $7 million in pot taxes so far this year.

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