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."


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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Smoking In Cars
4:09 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Oregon Senate Votes To Ban Smoking In Cars With Children Present

Shannon Holman Flickr

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 3:25 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Some Oregon lawmakers want to make it against the law to smoke in a vehicle when children are present. The Oregon Senate Wednesday approved a measure that would prohibit lighting up when anyone under the age of 18 is riding along.

Opponents called the bill an example of government intrusion. But supporters including Democrat Elizabeth Steiner Hayward say the legislation would protect children from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

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Oregon Legislature
3:52 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Kitzhaber Scores Two Early Legislative Wins

Oregon Department of Transportation

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 3:50 pm

SALEM, Ore. –Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is hailing the early passage of two of his legislative priorities. The Oregon House Tuesday gave final approval to a medical malpractice bill, just as the governor signed Oregon's contribution to a new bridge over the Columbia River.

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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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