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."

Pages

Marijuana Legalization
6:28 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Big Bucks Pour In For Oregon Ballot Measure Campaigns

The group behind the marijuana legalization measure in Oregon has taken in more than two million dollars.
Credit Mark / Flickr

  The big bucks keep pouring into Oregon ballot measure campaigns. The campaign to pass a recreational marijuana law similar to Washington’s got a big financial boost over the weekend. Even the less flashy top-two primary measure is rolling in out-of-state money.

Read more
Food, Agriculture, And Animals
6:01 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Money Battle In Oregon Food Labeling Measure Mirrors Washington

Signs mark a field of genetically modified corn.
Credit Lindsay Eyink

The big-money battle is over whether to require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. A similar initiative also set spending records in Washington state last year.

The group that supports the genetic engineering food labeling measure has raised more than $5 million so far. The group opposed to it has raked in about $11 million. More than two weeks remain before Election Day so those numbers will likely grow even higher.

Read more
Oregon Governor Race
7:58 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Richardson Defends Votes He Made In Favor Of Kitzhaber Priorities

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson.
Credit Campaign Photos

Oregon gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson is defending votes he made in the legislature in favor of his opponent's political priorities.

Read more
Oregon Debate
7:34 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Kitzhaber, Richardson Again Clash Over Role Of First Lady

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson.
Credit Campaign Photos

The behavior of Oregon's First Lady provoked the sharpest exchanges during a gubernatorial debate in Portland Tuesday night on KGW television. Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber declared that he would freeze out his fiancé from any policy-making roles in the near-term.

Read more
Oregon Pension Cuts
4:51 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Oregon Court Hears Public Pension Arguments

Oregon Supreme Court is pondering the fate of cuts to the state's public pension system.
Credit Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon's highest court is pondering the fate of cuts to the state's public pension system. Justices heard arguments Tuesday from attorneys for retired public workers and for the state.

Read more
Oregon Pension Cuts
4:54 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Oregon High Court To Hear Arguments On Pension Cuts

The Oregon Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that pits public employee unions against state government.
Credit Wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

The fate of cuts to Oregon's public pension system is on the line this week. The Oregon Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that pits public employee unions against state government.

At issue: A pair of bills passed by Oregon lawmakers last year and signed by Governor John Kitzhaber. The measures are aimed at reducing the cost of providing pensions for public workers such as teachers, firefighters and state and local government employees. The main way the bills do this is to cut the annual cost of living increase for retirees.

Read more
Oregon Gubernatorial Debate
4:17 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Kitzhaber, Richardson Clash Over Role Of First Lady

John Kitzhaber and Dennis Richardson shared the stage at the Portland City Club.
Credit John Rosman / OPB

Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson clashed Friday over the role of the state's first lady during a debate at Portland City Club.

It's been a trying week for Kitzhaber. A secret held by his longtime partner and fiancée Cylvia Hayes was revealed. In 1997, she married an 18-year-old immigrant to help him get a green card. In exchange she was paid $5,000.

Hayes apologized publicly for what she called an illegal act. Kitzhaber says he supports her.

Read more
Oregon First Lady
5:13 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Oregon's First Lady Admits To Sham Marriage

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes says she made a "serious mistake" when she married an 18-year-old immigrant in 1997.
Credit oregon.gov

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes says she made a "serious mistake" when she married an 18-year-old immigrant in 1997.

Read more
Oregon Legislative Races
8:12 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Parties Jockey To Win Control Of Oregon Legislature

Sara Gelser (center) is surrounded by campaign workers and volunteers at her Corvallis field office.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

State lawmakers often work in relative obscurity compared to their Beltway counterparts. But the men and women in Boise, Olympia and Salem frequently vote on bills that have an immediate and direct impact on the lives of everyday people. That's one reason why political parties in the Northwest are working hard this fall to win as many state house seats as possible.

Read more
Hiring Practices
6:43 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Feds Hand HR Functions Back To BPA

Desert Southwest Foreman II Electrician Rod Chaffee trains Bonneville Power Administration Electrician Paul VonLindern how to perform a rescue using the new equipment.
Credit Western Area Power / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Energy says the Bonneville Power Administration can be in charge of hiring new employees again. 

Last year the BPA got in trouble with the feds over hiring practices and retaliation against whistleblowers. The Energy Department found the BPA had not given preference that veterans were entitled to during hiring.

The government effectively took over the BPA's human resources department for about a year.

Read more

Pages