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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Pension Adjustments
6:39 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Pension Adjustments Would Bring Mixed Impact To Oregon Retirees

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:54 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Republicans and Democrats at Oregon's capitol want to balance the state budget by taking aim at the pension system for public workers. Both parties as well as Governor John Kitzhaber say changes to the retirement system would help prevent more cuts to schools. But retirees claim the proposals would break a promise.

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Indoor Tanning
4:44 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Oregon House Votes To Make Teen Tanning Tougher

Alexandra Kocik Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:55 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon teenagers could soon find it harder to get an artificial tan. The Oregon House Thursday approved a measure that would bar people under 18 from using a tanning salon, unless they get permission from a doctor.

GOP Representative Mark Johnson knew he was going against his party when he stood up to speak in favor of the bill.

"What's a good Republican like me doing meddling in a private sector industry like this for?"

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School Seclusion Cells
5:39 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Oregon House Takes Aim At School Seclusion Cells

Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 5:36 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are trying to reduce the use of so-called seclusion cells in schools. The small rooms are used when out-of-control students need a place to calm down without posing a risk to themselves or others. The Oregon House Wednesday passed a measure that would ban the starkest versions of these rooms.

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Oregon Wine
4:37 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Oregon Could Expand Use Of Wine 'Growlers'

Kevin Mooney Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:33 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is on a trade mission in Germany this week. One item on his agenda is to promote Oregon wines at a major tourism trade show. Meanwhile, back in Salem, lawmakers are trying to make it easier for Oregonians to buy more of that wine.

The Oregon House Wednesday approved a measure that would let wine aficionados fill up their own container at a store or restaurant. The bottles are sometimes called "growlers."

Democratic representative Paul Holvey told lawmakers the law would put wine on an equal footing with beer.

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Medical Malpractice
4:36 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Oregon Senate Approves Measure Aimed At Reducing Malpractice Costs

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 4:35 pm

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Senate has given the go-ahead to a bill aimed at reducing the cost of medical malpractice litigation. Lawmakers voted Tuesday to send the measure to the Oregon House. But opponents call it a watered-down compromise.

Here's what the bill would do: Set up a mediation process for patients to meet with doctors when there's a possible case of medical error. The idea is to reach a resolution before a lawsuit is filed.

Here's what the bill would not do: Set a cap on the amount that an injured patient can win in a lawsuit.

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Oregon Budget Proposal
3:57 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Oregon Legislative Budget Writers Release Spending Proposal

Gregg M. Erickson Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 5:12 pm

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon legislature's chief budget writers released their proposed two-year spending plan Monday. The two Democrats in charge of drawing up the budget outline say all of the numbers are subject to negotiation. But state Senator Richard Devlin and state Representative Peter Buckley say it will be hard to persuade them to lower the $6.75 billion they've set aside for K-12 education.

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Same-Sex Marriage
5:02 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Oregon, Washington File Briefs In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:43 pm

SALEM, Ore. – The top state prosecutors in Oregon and Washington have filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The high court is expected to take up the cases later this month.

The first case involves an effort to strike down California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. The second case involves efforts to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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Oregon Death Penalty
4:47 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Death Penalty Repeal

Oregon Department of Corrections

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:43 pm

SALEM, Ore. – More than a year ago, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber stunned people by enacting a moratorium on the death penalty. It happened just weeks before the scheduled execution of two-time murderer Gary Haugen. At a hearing Tuesday, lawmakers took up the question of whether to ask voters to repeal the death penalty altogether. But it’s not clear whether that will actually happen.

Dan Bryant knows the unique pain of learning a loved one has been murdered. His mother was stabbed to death by a mentally-ill relative in 1998.

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Columbia River Crossing
4:13 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Oregon House Approves Columbia River Crossing

Columbia River Crossing

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 3:47 pm

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House has signed off on what's shaping up to be the most expensive single public works project in the state's history. Lawmakers voted Monday to approve $450 million for a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River.

The new bridge would replace a pair of aging, congestion-prone spans between Portland and Vancouver, Washington. If all goes according to plan, Oregon's portion of the funding would be matched by a similar amount from state lawmakers in Olympia, along with federal cash and money from drivers in the form of tolls.

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Undocumented Students
4:55 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Not Many Undocumented Students Expected To Use In-State Tuition

Jimmy Emerson Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:52 pm

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House has approved a controversial bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. Supporters called Friday’s vote historic. But not very many students are expected to actually take advantage of the measure.

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