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."


Weyerhaeuser Acquisition
4:01 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Timber Giant Weyerhaeuser Makes Major Acquisition

Weyerhaeuser is headquartered in Federal Way, Wash.
Credit camknows / Flickr

Timber industry giant Weyerhaeuser is about to get even bigger. The Federal Way, Washington-based company announced Monday that it's buying Longview Timber in a sale valued at more than $2.6 billion.

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Oregon Education Budget
6:48 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Threatened 'No' Vote Puts Oregon Education Budget In Limbo

Oregon Legislature

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:59 pm

The Democratic-controlled Oregon Senate is scheduled to act Monday on the largest single portion of the state spending plan: Money for K-12 schools. But there's a chance the vote will be delayed. That's because a single Democrat has come out against the proposal, throwing a monkey wrench into the process.

This would be the second time the schools budget is held over to another day. With less than two weeks left before the scheduled adjournment, Democratic state Senator Chris Edwards continues to hold out for more money for schools.

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Timber Counties
5:36 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Oregon Lawmakers Could Act Soon On Timber County Rescue Plan

Timber at upper Charlotte Creek on the Elliott State Forest.
Credit Dan Jenkins / ODFW

A plan that would give state government broad powers to step in and bail out struggling timber counties could advance soon in the Oregon legislature. A House panel could vote as soon as Monday on a bill that could lead to a temporary tax hike in counties that are struggling to maintain basic services.

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Protest Limitations
5:19 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Court Case Questions Protest Restrictions At Oregon State Capitol

Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:12 pm

Oregon's highest court is taking up the question of whether the state can restrict protests in front of the capitol. The case stems from a 2008 anti-war rally that resulted in arrests after protesters refused to leave the grounds overnight.

Justices heard arguments Thursday.

Michele Darr spent night after winter night on the front steps of the Oregon capitol in December of 2008. "It was difficult," she says. "It was cold. It was uncomfortable."

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Oregon Lawmakers
5:00 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Some Bills Left Behind As Oregon Lawmakers Press For Adjournment

M.O. Stevens Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Oregon lawmakers are pressing to clear a backlog of legislation. The House is planning morning and afternoon sessions to try to reach a hoped-for adjournment by the end of the month. But some measures appear to have fallen by the wayside.

A few examples:

• The bill to require daily flag salutes in Oregon public schools. It passed the House. But lawmakers in the Senate objected, and changed it to simply extend the current once-a-week flag salute to charter schools.

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Oregon Budget
3:59 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Still No Agreement On Revenue, Pensions In Oregon Legislature

M.O. Stevens Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:54 pm

Oregon lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday on money for K-12 education. But final approval of the spending plan likely won't happen until later this month.

On the table right now is $6.75 billion for Oregon schools. That's a sizable jump over the current spending plan. But some of the state's largest districts say even with that increase, they'd still need to cut teachers or school days.

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Gray Wolves
4:30 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Federal Government To Remove Gray Wolves From Endangered List

US Fish

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 2:48 pm

The US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to completely remove federal protections of gray wolves. Agency leaders announced the proposal Friday. The move would turn over gray wolf management to states. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe says gray wolves have recovered dramatically over the past decade.

"To see a species rebound from a century-long campaign of human persecution to flourish on the landscape again, is something we're all extraordinarily lucky to witness in our lifetimes,” Ashe told reporters in a conference call.

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Public Pensions
4:57 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Advocates Push For Deeper Pension Cuts As Talks Stall

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:37 pm

Some education and business groups are pushing Oregon lawmakers for deeper cuts to the state’s public pension system. Talks between Governor John Kitzhaber and four legislative leaders stalled this week without an agreement.

Advocates for additional pension cuts made their case at a press conference on the front steps of the state capitol Thursday. Betty Reynolds serves on the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board. She says the current system is too costly.

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Vaccination Bill
4:19 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Oregon Lawmakers Advance Tougher Vaccine Opt-Out Regulations


Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 3:38 pm

Oregon lawmakers want to make parents think twice before deciding not to have their kids immunized. The Oregon Senate Thursday approved a measure that would add steps to the way parents can opt out of the requirement.

The Oregon Health Authority says more than six percent of children enter kindergarten without the required number of vaccinations. It has been the highest highest rate in the nation, and it's been climbing.

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Smoking In Cars
4:05 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Lawmakers Vote To Ban Smoking In Cars With Children Present


Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 5:11 pm

Oregon lawmakers signed off Monday on a measure that makes it illegal to smoke in a car when there are children present. Drivers could only be ticketed for the offense if they've already been pulled over for something else.

Supporters include Republican representative Jim Thompson. He told colleagues that the bill seeks to protect children from an obvious harm.

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