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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Oregon Raccoons
7:25 am
Wed March 27, 2013

The Politics Of Raccoons At The Oregon Capitol

Penh Gwyn Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:13 pm

SALEM, Ore. - Depending on who you ask, raccoons are either cute little woodland critters or a menace to pets and humans alike. There’s certainly no consensus on that question in the Oregon legislature. One measure in Salem would ban the feeding of raccoons. It’s an idea that’s proven to be surprisingly controversial.

Kristy Neubo has a small dog. She calls it "Baby. She's a little five-pound shih-tzu yorkie mix.

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Same-Sex Marriage
6:03 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Oregon Gay Marriage Opponents Say Initiative Would Have Unintended Consequences

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 5:41 pm

SALEM, Ore. – As the U.S. Supreme Court debates same-sex marriage Tuesday, activists on both sides of the issue in Oregon are working behind the scenes to craft language for a 2014 ballot initiative. Opponents claim the current wording would have unintended political consequences.

Here's the ballot measure phrase that gay marriage opponents have seized upon: "The state of Oregon and its political subdivisions shall issue marriage licenses to all couples."

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Public Pension Proposal
5:42 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Oregon Democrats Prepare For Backlash Against Public Pension Proposal

Oregon State Capitol in Salem
Credit Jessica Paterson / Flickr

Democrats in the Oregon legislature are bracing themselves for a backlash against a public pension cost cutting proposal they released Monday. The plan would create a sliding scale to cap cost of living increases for retired public workers. Budget-writers hope to apply the savings to education funding.

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Social Media Privacy
4:05 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Social Media Privacy Measures

Facebook

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:34 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers think employers should just log off when it comes to asking workers for their Facebook passwords. A House panel debated a measure Friday that would prohibit companies from demanding access to their employees' social media accounts.

The idea surfaced after national news reports of people being forced to turn over their Facebook passwords as a condition of getting or keeping a job. It’s not clear whether that’s been happening in the Northwest.

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Oregon Legislature
6:02 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Critics Deride 'Nanny State' Measures, Supporters Say Laws Are Justified

Shannon Holman, Dept of Transportation and Alexandra Kocik

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 6:01 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Some of the fiercest debates this year in the Oregon legislature have revolved around something critics call the “nanny state.” These are bills to regulate personal behavior. The issues may change, but it’s a conversation that’s been going on for decades.

Let's start with a recent example. A measure that would ban smoking in cars when there are children present. Republican Oregon state Senator Jeff Kruse is a smoker, but that’s not why he opposes the bill.

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Oregon Equal Rights
4:37 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Advocates Push For Oregon Version Of Equal Rights Amendment

A vintage Equal Rights Amendment pin from the 1970s.
Credit Northwest News Network

Advocates for women's rights want the Oregon legislature to send a version of the Equal Rights Amendment to the state ballot. The measure is similar to the federal constitutional amendment that was approved by Congress in the early 70s. Not enough states ratified it so the amendment never took effect. Now, more than four dozen lawmakers have signed onto the idea of asking Oregon voters to approve a state version of the concept.

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River Mining
5:53 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Supreme Court Lets Limits On River Mining Stand

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday makes it harder for miners to gain access to Northwest rivers. Environmental groups hailed the decision as a major victory.

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Unmanned Aircraft
5:34 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Hobbyists Welcome Proposed Changes To Drone Legislation

People who fly unmanned aircraft for fun say new changes to an Oregon drone bill have addressed their concerns. An Oregon Senate panel will consider the measure Wednesday.

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Death Penalty Reprieve
4:14 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Oregon High Court Hears Haugen Vs. Kitzhaber

Gary Haugen
Credit Oregon Department of Corrections

EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon Supreme Court Thursday heard arguments in a case that pits a death row inmate against Governor John Kitzhaber. An attorney for Gary Haugen argued that the two-time murderer has the right to reject a reprieve from the death penalty issued by the governor.

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Death Penalty Reprieve
5:09 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Oregon Supreme Court Takes Up Haugen's Request To Die

Oregon Department of Corrections

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:59 pm

The Oregon Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Thursday in a case involving a death row inmate who wants to die. Two-time murderer Gary Haugen is trying to reject a reprieve issued by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.

It's definitely an unusual situation. Normally you'd expect people on death row to be happy about having their execution delayed. But Haugen had dropped all of his appeals and was actually trying to be executed. He repeatedly told judges that he was ready. And the courts ruled him competent to make that decision.

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