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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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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Ashton Eaton
4:18 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Olympic Track Champion Ashton Eaton Addresses Oregon Senate

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:11 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Olympic gold medal winner Ashton Eaton thanked Oregon lawmakers for supporting track athletes like him. The Oregon native shot to worldwide fame last year when he won the gold medal in the decathlon at the London summer games.

He addressed members of the Oregon Senate Thursday.

"I feel so strongly about this state and I can't express enough how much I appreciate the work that is done within these wood walls that may -- unknowingly by most of you in here -- help me do what I'm able to do every day."

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Personal Guns At Work
5:27 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Oregon Corrections Officers Want To Bring Personal Guns To Work

Wikipedia

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 5:24 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Corrections officers in Oregon say they need the option of being armed while they commute to and from work. Lawmakers are considering a measure to overturn a rule that bans corrections officers from bringing personal guns to the grounds of state prisons.

The 2009 personal gun rule applies to employees and visitors at most state buildings. More than a dozen lawmakers have signed onto a bill that would allow corrections officers to bring their personal weapons with them to work, as long as they leave them in a locked gun box inside their vehicle.

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Oregon Revenue
4:19 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Oregon Revenue Forecast Up Slightly, Growth Still Slow

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 4:19 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of how much money they'll have to put together a budget. State forecasters Friday announced their latest revenue projections.

The bottom line: Things keep getting better. But not by much. State economist Mark McMullen told a legislative panel that corporate and personal income tax projections continue to rise. But he says the rate of increase isn't as strong as previous economic recoveries.

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Medical Malpractice Insurance
4:50 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Oregon Senate Panel Advances Medical Malpractice Legislation

Jessica Paterson Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 4:09 pm

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon Senate panel has given the initial go-ahead to a measure aimed at reducing the cost of medical malpractice insurance. The proposal would set up a mediation system aimed at heading off costly litigation between injured patients and their doctors.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber testified in favor of the plan Thursday. He held up a signed agreement between two long-feuding rival groups.

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I-5 Bridge Funding
6:22 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Oregon Lawmakers Kick Off I-5 Bridge Replacement Debate

Columbia River Crossing

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:18 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Some legislative leaders in Salem are saying that the state may not have to raise any taxes or fees right away to replace the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River. Oregon could absorb the cost of paying for long-term bonds through existing funds -- for now, anyway.

Lawmakers did leave the door open to future increases in gas taxes or vehicle registration fees. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber testified Monday in front of a special legislative committee. It was created solely to consider a replacement for the aging I-5 spans between Portland and Vancouver.

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Oregon Same-Sex Marriage
4:20 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Oregon Same-Sex Marriage Supporters File Initiative For 2014

Chantal Andrea

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:18 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon voters could decide next year whether to legally recognize same-sex marriages. Supporters of gay marriage submitted an initiative Monday aimed at putting such a question on the Oregon ballot in November of 2014.

Nine states including Washington issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But Oregon can't, since voters defined marriage as between one man and one woman nearly a decade ago. It would take a statewide vote to reverse that. So the gay rights group Basic Rights Oregon filed an initiative to overturn that Constitutional ban.

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