Chris Lehman

Oregon Correspondent

Chris stays on top of political developments in Salem, Oregon. But that's not all he does. Breaking news from central Oregon to the Pacific Coast is fair game for this versatile reporter.

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SALEM, Ore. – Oregon economists say the recent turmoil on Wall Street is having an effect on the state’s finances. But it’s a small one so far. An economic forecast issued Friday shows a projected 200 million dollar drop in revenue.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has not given up on the idea of a mileage tax paid by electric vehicle owners. The tax is meant to offset the lack of gas taxes paid by people who drive electric cars.

Members of Oregon’s largest public workers' union have approved a new two-year contract. It's the first time state workers have agreed to pay a portion of their health insurance premiums.

Members of SEIU Local 503 voted to ratify the contract 77% to 23%. The agreement means that many state workers will pay around 5% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Employees will also have to take unpaid furlough days. They'll also get cost of living pay increases.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

WILSONVILLE, Ore. - Drivers taking a break on I-5 near Portland could soon have their rest stop powered by the sun. Oregon broke ground Tuesday on a new solar project that officials are hailing as the largest of its kind in the nation.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

NEWPORT, Ore. – A fleet of federal research ships is moving from Seattle to the Oregon coast. This weekend, state and local leaders in Newport are celebrating the transition with festivities. The state of Oregon kicked in nearly $20 million to help Newport lure the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific operation center from its long-time home.

From the Yaquina Bay Bridge, a huge bridge over the harbor, you can get a good view of the new NOAA pier. It can hold up to a half-dozen ocean-going ships.

NEWPORT, Ore. – Advocates of banning plastic grocery bags are taking their cause to smaller cities. An effort to ban the bags statewide failed in both the Oregon and Washington legislatures this year.

Now, supporters are making their case to city councils across the Northwest.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

One of the best-known Northwest brands is closer to getting out of bankruptcy. A federal judge has given a tentative okay to the recovery plan for Oregon gourmet food and gift retailer Harry & David.

cobalt123 / Flikr

The next time you head down the interstate, that truck in the lane next to you could be from Mexico. That's because of a recent cross-border trucking accord between the United States and Mexico.

Opponents say putting Mexican trucks on U.S. roads is risky. But there's little evidence to show that Mexican trucks are actually a hazard on the highway.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

The Northwest egg industry is changing the way it houses chickens. But animal rights activists in Oregon and Washington say the change isn't going far enough.

Lawmakers in both Olympia and Salem debated the welfare of egg-laying hens this year. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has already signed one bill. A similar measure has been approved by the Oregon Senate and is awaiting action in the House.

Regardless, opponents in both states are launching ballot initiatives aimed at giving hens even more space.

Sergeant Scott Punch / Oregon State Police

A southern Oregon county battered by last Friday's tsunami is turning to the state and federal government for assistance. High waves caused heavy damage the harbor in Brookings. One local official hand-delivered a request for assistance to the state capitol.

Multnomah County Sheriff

The Oregon teenager charged with attempting to explode a bomb in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square is due to appear in federal court in Portland today.

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