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 free–lance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and child.

Read Chris's blog, "Capitol Currents: Dispatches From Salem."

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Public Health Services
7:21 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Oregon County Turns Public Health Function Over To State

Counties across the Northwest are heavily dependent on timber revenue from federal lands have been struggling to provide public health services. Now, one county in Oregon has told the state it will no longer provide those services. That's left state officials scrambling to figure out how to cover the gap. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Former Oregon Governor
7:42 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Vic Atiyeh, Former Oregon Governor, Dies At 91

Former Oregon governor Vic Atiyeh

Former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh has died at the age of 91. The two-term Republican passed away Sunday evening at a Portland hospital of complications from renal failure. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Northwest News
5:38 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Weekend Lightning Could Lead To 'Sleeper' Fires

Firefighters along Highway 97A are battling the Mills Canyon fire in central Washington state.
Credit InciWeb

Wildfires continue to rage around the Northwest. The Mills Canyon fire in central Washington has charred 35 square miles. In Oregon, the Moccasin Hill Fire has destroyed at least a half-dozen homes near Klamath Falls. Forecasters say weather conditions are ripe for more fires to develop in the coming days.

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Wildfires
4:21 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Hot Weather Complicates Fire Fighting Efforts

A view of the Mills Canyon fire, north of Wenatchee, Washington.
Credit InciWeb

Triple-digit temperatures are expected to complicate the effort to battle a large wildfire in central Washington. The Mills Canyon blaze covers about 28 square miles north of Wenatchee. It's threatening hundreds of structures and has led to periodic closures of US Highway 97A. Keith Vradenburg is mayor of the small town of Entiat . He says the town is thick with both firefighters and smoke.

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Northwest Wildfires
6:03 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Northwest Wildfire Season Heats Up

The Mills Canyon fire started near Entiat, Washington, north of Wenatchee.
Credit InciWeb

The Northwest is in the grip of a heat wave and this weekend it could push temperatures into the triple digits in parts of the region. That could make things difficult for firefighters battling flames on the front lines.

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Wildfire Fines
5:48 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Start A Wildfire? Expect A Bill

Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.
Credit Josh O'Connor - USFWS / Flickr

Northwest wildfire managers are keeping an eye on the weather with temperatures expected to peak in the triple digits in some areas over the next few days. Thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans.

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Bitcoin Donations
6:51 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Oregon Marijuana Campaign Would Like Some Of Your Bitcoin Stash

A physical representation of Bitcoin, a digital currency.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

An Oregon political campaign wants your digital donations. The group behind the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana says it's now accepting bitcoin contributions. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports on this new frontier in campaign finance.

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Clean Water Act
7:35 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Farmers Urge EPA To "Ditch The Rule"

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.
Credit Photo by Chris Lehman. / Northwest News Network

And now a story about farmers and water. It’s a common and often contentious issue out here in the West. Well now farmers across the country are also riled up. That’s because the U.S. EPA wants to revise the clean water act. As Correspondent Chris Lehman explains depending on who you talk to these revisions are either a “land grab” under the “brute force” of the federal government or a simple clarification of rules that ensure all Americans have clean water to drink.

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Oregon Primary System
7:08 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Oregon Voters Could Decide On "Top Two" Primary System

Chief petitioner Jim Kelly turns in six boxes of signatures for the Top Two primary initiative.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon voters might have the chance to overhaul the state's primary voting system this fall. Sponsors of an initiative to create a so-called "Top Two" primary turned in six cases of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office Monday. The measure would let people vote in primaries even if they don't belong to a major political party. The top two vote-getters would advance to the general election, regardless of party. Chief petitioner Jim Kelly says it will give more Oregonians a part in the process.

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ODOT Preparedness
6:23 am
Wed June 18, 2014

State Audit Questions ODOT's Long-Term Preparedness

The Oregon Department of Transportation may lose a vast amount of institutional knowledge in the coming years. That's according to an audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State. And the report questions whether ODOT is doing enough to retain that knowledge of how to design and build roads. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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