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

Ways to Connect

The grocery industry is calling it quits on a potential ballot measure that would have privatized liquor sales in Oregon. Currently, hard liquor like whiskey, vodka and gin can only be sold in state-chartered stores.

Grocers want to be able to sell it along with their current selections of beer and wine, but the industry group behind the effort said Wednesday they won't collect any more signatures for the initiative.

Oregon's Republican presidential primary is taking on a new look. The Ted Cruz campaign said the Texas senator will stand down in Oregon to clear a path for Ohio Governor John Kasich. The Cruz campaign will also pull back its efforts in New Mexico.

In return, the Kasich camp will back off in Indiana.

Oregon is falling short of many of its own goals when it comes to caring for children in its foster care system. That's according to a review released this week.

Taxes from marijuana sales continue to outpace expectations in Oregon. The state Department of Revenue Wednesday said the state has collected nearly $7 million in pot taxes so far this year.

Keep your kicker or donate it?

Oregon taxpayers have the chance to donate their kicker rebate to fund state schools as they fill out their tax forms this year. But hardly anyone is choosing to do that. So far this tax season, less than one-half of one percent of Oregonians are choosing to donate their kicker.

When Tim McClure was 42 years old, he was convicted of illegally growing marijuana on his ranch near The Dalles, Oregon. And at this time last year, McClure was living with the shame of being a felon.

"I don't think it's the measure of me as a man,” McClure said 2015.

More Oregon taxpayers than normal are facing a longer wait for their refund this year. But as a later-than-usual April 18 filing deadline approaches, the Oregon Department of Revenue said it's clearing out the backlog.

During her second State of the State address Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown renewed her call for the legislature to approve a massive transportation funding package.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will deliver the 2016 State of the State address this Friday in Portland. It's her second one since taking office last year in the wake of John Kitzhaber's resignation.

So far Brown's office has released few details about what the governor will talk about.

The Northwest is in for an early taste of summer Thursday and Friday. Highs could top 80 degrees in parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. That would set records for the date in a lot of places.

Gavin Seim, a prominent supporter of the group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is kicking off a nationwide speaking tour in Oregon. He's asking fellow activists to pressure the government to release the occupiers who are awaiting trial in Oregon and Nevada.

The Oregon primary is still more than a month away, but ballots are already going out in the mail to some voters. And starting Tuesday, campaigns will have to report finance transactions on a timelier basis.

The oil industry said it's backing down from an effort to overturn Oregon's clean fuels law at the ballot. Instead, the Oregon Fuels Association will try to get lawmakers to modify the law when they renew debate on a highway funding plan in 2017.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, some activists and entrepreneurs are taking the next step: They're running for office themselves.

The effort to privatize liquor sales in Oregon cleared a hurdle Thursday when the state Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for initiative sponsors to gather signatures. The potential ballot measure is already raking in millions from the grocery industry.

The chair of the commission that regulates Oregon utilities says she won't seek appointment to another term and will step down in May. Susan Ackerman did not give a reason for her decision in a letter to Governor Kate Brown Friday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a director for the state's largest agency. The Democrat is choosing Clyde Saiki to take the helm at the Department of Human Services.

Republican Allen Alley waited until the last minute to enter the Oregon governor's race. But he isn't wasting any time raising money.

The state flag of Mississippi is no longer flying outside the Oregon capitol. It was removed this week at the request of legislative leaders.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has officially launched her campaign to win another two years in office. The Democrat filed election papers in Salem Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon is the deadline for candidates to file to appear on the May primary ballot in Oregon. It also marks a milestone for the state's newest major political party.

Oregon lawmakers are heading home Thursday after closing the books on a contentious four-and-a-half week long session. House Speaker Tina Kotek brought down the final gavel just after 1 p.m. Thursday.

One of the final items Oregon lawmakers approved before closing out their 2016 legislative session Thursday was a measure that would allow cities and counties to require developers to include low-income housing options in new developments.

It’s official: Oregon’s minimum wage will increase over the next six years after Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill Wednesday at a state Capitol ceremony. Brown called the measure her top priority for this year's legislative session.

Oregon lawmakers voted Wednesday to eliminate the statute of limitations for first-degree sex crimes, including rape. Under current law, prosecutors have 12 years after the crime to file charges.

By the year 2030, the electricity that most Oregonians use won't be powered by coal. That's the goal of a measure that's moving through the Oregon Legislature. The state House approved the plan Tuesday.

One of the initiative campaigns to raise Oregon's minimum wage announced Monday that it's ending its signature-gathering efforts. But a separate campaign says it will keep trying to get an initiative on the November ballot.

Oregon lawmakers are moving ahead with a measure that would lift the state's nearly two-decade-old ban on inclusionary zoning laws. The Oregon Senate voted Friday to allow cities and counties to require builders to set aside a portion of large developments for affordable units.

Republicans returned to work Thursday in the Oregon Senate, one day after GOP lawmakers refused to show up for a late-day floor session. The rare walk-out denied majority Democrats the quorum they needed to approve legislation.

The costs associated with the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are still being tallied up. They include police overtime, lodging, meals and fuel. Initial estimates show the total will easily top $1 million.

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