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.

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Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has agreed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty to the state of Oregon for ethics violations. Kitzhaber agreed to the penalty after a review by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.

Don Ryan / Associated Press

Wildfires are largely out across the Pacific Northwest, but the economic fallout continues in many communities.

Wildfires closed highways and tourist attractions this summer and fall in places like the Columbia River Gorge and the southern Oregon coast. In Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival director Cynthia Rider said wildfire smoke forced the cancellation of nine outdoor performances. Rider said it’s the fourth year of the past five where that’s been necessary, and she’s worried about the long-term impact to the area’s reputation.

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An Oregon lawmaker said she’ll introduce a bill next year to clarify that consensual sex between teenagers does not need to be reported to state authorities.

Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser made the announcement in a Facebook post Tuesday.

A task force appointed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has released a series of possible options for shrinking the state’s public pension deficit. The options include a lengthy list of ways to generate cash through a combination of one-time and ongoing changes.

The list includes some eye-catching proposals such as privatizing the state’s public universities that are unlikely to gain much traction politically.

Courtesy John J. Cooper / Oregon Live

An Oregon state representative is awaiting word from the Trump administration about whether he’ll receive a job that would require him to leave the Legislature. Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, said Thursday he’s in the running to be the head of rural development in Oregon for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Two of the longest serving members of the Oregon Senate are stepping down from their seats.

The federal government has approved a key waiver that will allow Oregon to proceed with a program designed to blunt the cost of health insurance plans purchased on the individual market.

Starting in January, Oregonians in the market for a new electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle could be offered a significant incentive: a taxpayer-funded rebate of up to $2,500.

Oregonians will be voting on a tax on hospital and health insurance companies next January. The Oregon Secretary of State’s office announced Monday that opponents of the tax had successfully gathered enough valid signatures to force a vote.

Voters in one of Oregon’s largest counties will have the chance this November to dramatically reshape their county government. The question before Douglas County residents is whether or not to approve a home rule charter.

The person in charge of the Oregon Department of Education stepped down Wednesday.

A new law in Oregon allows municipalities to use their red-light cameras to ticket speeders, too.

Drivers won’t be fined unless they’re going at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit. But the speeding tickets can be issued regardless of whether the light was red, yellow, or green at the time.

The projected incarceration rate of Oregonians is expected to fall by 11 percent over the next decade. That’s according to the semi-annual prison population forecast issued by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

The Oregon Department of Revenue is getting ready to distribute $85 million in cannabis tax revenue to cities, counties and several state agencies. It’s the first distribution since a tax on recreational cannabis kicked in last year.

Equifax

The credit reporting agency Equifax doesn’t have to notify the estimated 1.7 million Oregonians who may have been impacted by the company’s massive data breach.

Supporters of a so-called “cap and invest” proposal are laying the groundwork for the Oregon Legislature to take on the issue next year.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson wants to move the state’s next presidential primary to an earlier date. Oregon currently holds its presidential primary in mid-May.

This year’s intense wildfire season in Oregon has re-ignited a long-simmering debate at the state Capitol: How to manage forests in a way that doesn’t lead to infernos.

But the politics of wildfires are complicated.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson has turned over a database of state voter information to the Trump administration.

The August heat set records in some Oregon cities. And not surprisingly, the hot weather was especially brutal for people who work outside.

TOM BANSE / NW NEWS NETWORK

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is hearing from opponents and supporters of a proposed change to the state's initiative process.

Critics of a new Oregon law that would make it easier to get guns out of the hands of people suffering from mental health crises are gathering signatures to overturn it.

It's official: Oregon taxpayers will receive a kicker rebate. Nearly $464 million will be sent back to taxpayers when they file their state income taxes next year.

A count of Oregon's homeless population shows a 6 percent increase in the number of people living in shelters or on the streets. The tally takes place every two years in January and is meant to be a snapshot of a specific point in time.

Oregonians will find out Wednesday if they'll receive a kicker rebate on their taxes next year.

The kicker is that unique Oregon institution that dishes out money to taxpayers when the state's official economists under-predict how much revenue the state will collect over a two-year period.

Nike co-founder Phil Knight made his largest ever donation to an Oregon political race this week. The recipient is Republican candidate for governor Knute Buehler.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signed into law a bill to require health insurance policies to cover the cost of abortions.

A million people may flock to Oregon over the coming week to view the total eclipse of the sun. State officials said Tuesday that they're as prepared as they can possibly be. 



Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is sending aid to help fight a 34,000-acre wildfire on the Warm Springs Reservation in central Oregon.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reminding Oregon and other states with legalized recreational marijuana that federal marijuana law is still in effect.

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