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

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.

Voters in two Oregon counties will decide in the May primary whether to allow marijuana-related businesses. County commissioners banned marijuana retailers and growers in unincorporated parts of Klamath and Grant counties last year.

When Tim McClure was 42 years old, he was convicted of illegally growing marijuana on his ranch near The Dalles, Oregon. And at this time last year, McClure was living with the shame of being a felon.

"I don't think it's the measure of me as a man,” McClure said 2015.

Keep your kicker or donate it?

Oregon taxpayers have the chance to donate their kicker rebate to fund state schools as they fill out their tax forms this year. But hardly anyone is choosing to do that. So far this tax season, less than one-half of one percent of Oregonians are choosing to donate their kicker.

More Oregon taxpayers than normal are facing a longer wait for their refund this year. But as a later-than-usual April 18 filing deadline approaches, the Oregon Department of Revenue said it's clearing out the backlog.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will deliver the 2016 State of the State address this Friday in Portland. It's her second one since taking office last year in the wake of John Kitzhaber's resignation.

So far Brown's office has released few details about what the governor will talk about.

The Northwest is in for an early taste of summer Thursday and Friday. Highs could top 80 degrees in parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. That would set records for the date in a lot of places.

Gavin Seim, a prominent supporter of the group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is kicking off a nationwide speaking tour in Oregon. He's asking fellow activists to pressure the government to release the occupiers who are awaiting trial in Oregon and Nevada.

The chair of the commission that regulates Oregon utilities says she won't seek appointment to another term and will step down in May. Susan Ackerman did not give a reason for her decision in a letter to Governor Kate Brown Friday.

Cape Kiwanda is an icon of the Oregon coast, but its jagged bluffs and towering dunes also tempt thrill-seekers to get too close to the edge.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a director for the state's largest agency. The Democrat is choosing Clyde Saiki to take the helm at the Department of Human Services.

Republican Allen Alley waited until the last minute to enter the Oregon governor's race. But he isn't wasting any time raising money.

The state flag of Mississippi is no longer flying outside the Oregon capitol. It was removed this week at the request of legislative leaders.

The list of iconic movies filmed at least partly in Oregon is long. It includes “The Goonies,” “Animal House,” and more recently, “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon.

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