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

Image source: U.S. Census Bureau

Americans are pouring over the newly released data from the 1940 Census. Demand was so high Monday that the National Archives website crashed. But as correspondent Chris Lehman reports, many people in the Northwest have an extra challenge in finding information about their relatives.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - Corrections officials in Olympia and Salem are bracing for an expected increase in prisoners. The Washington Department of Corrections is predicting a need for 900 more beds in the next four years. And a new report issued Friday confirms an earlier forecast that Oregon will need housing for 2,000 more inmates by the end of the decade.

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SALEM, Ore. – Sales are brisk across the Northwest for Friday's MegaMillions drawing. The $540 million lottery jackpot is being called the largest in world history. The high-profile jackpot also means state lotteries of Oregon, Washington and Idaho are anticipating a payday of their own.

Photo by Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – The governor's mansion in Oregon has tested positive for elevated levels of radon. Technicians found the readings Wednesday when they picked up monitors left in the basement of the stately, two-story home known as Mahonia Hall. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Photo by Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

PORTLAND - An Oregon health agency is recommending the use of doulas as a way to reduce infant mortality among low-income and ethnic minority households. Correspondent Chris Lehman explains what a doula actually is and whether there's any money in the health care bureaucracy to pay for them.

Photo credit: Timothy Ellis/Flickr / Northwest News Network

Home prices continue to fall in the Northwest. New figures released show yet another drop in both Seattle and Portland.

The S&P/Case-Schiller Index measures housing prices in 20 large metropolitan areas around the country. The newest figures are through January and in them, both Seattle and Portland hit new lows for the current economic downturn. Average home prices in both cities are down about four percent from a year ago. Steve Thoele is an agent with Keller-Williams Realty in Portland. He blogs about housing trends in Oregon.

Photo Credit: M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia commons

SALEM, Ore. – The state of Oregon says one of its largest cities discriminated against fire fighters because they were National Guard members. The Oregon Department of Justice announced a settlement Wednesday with the City of Salem that puts the city under close federal scrutiny for the next three years.

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SALEM, Ore. – The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday heard arguments about whether killers in their early teens can receive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Meanwhile, in Oregon, five teenage murderers are getting a chance at an earlier release date. The first of those young killers went before the Oregon Parole Board Tuesday. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman was there.

Image courtesy of pool video feed

SALEM, Ore. – Five Oregon murderers are getting a chance at an earlier parole date. They are inmates who are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were teens. Two of the killers went before the Oregon Parole Board Tuesday. It’s the latest step in an ongoing controversy over how to treat these offenders.

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The west coast is poised for a dramatic uptick in so-called "clean economy" jobs. That's the prediction issued Wednesday by the leaders of Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia. But as Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, it's not clear if the region can actually pull it off.

Photo Credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

High winds knocked out power for tens of thousands of people in northwest Oregon and western Washington Monday. The National Weather Service reported gusts of more than 80 miles-per-hour on the Oregon coast.

Photo credit: USFWS / USFWS

Bald eagles are no longer considered threatened by the state of Oregon. The state's Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Friday to remove the iconic bird from the state list of endangered species.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is heaping praise on the legislature for its just concluded 2012 session. The Democratic governor saw lawmakers pass all four of his major policy initiatives, including three on the final day of the session Monday. Kitzhaber was surrounded by lawmakers from both parties in his office Tuesday as he signed two of those measures into law.

Photo by M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers wrapped up their 2012 legislative session after dark Monday night. One of the last bills they signed off on was a measure to slow the pace of home foreclosures. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Photo credit: M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers appear to be on track to wrap up their legislative session Monday evening. A budget committee approved a package of measures Monday afternoon designed to bring the current spending plan back into balance. There are no new taxes and public schools are shielded from further cuts.

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SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers will return to the capitol on Monday to try once again to wrap up their legislative session. Things got testy Friday as lawmakers differed on whether to keep working or adjourn for the weekend.

Photo courtesy Oregon Governor's Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed one of his top legislative priorities into law Friday. The Democrat was surrounded by lawmakers from both parties as he signed the so-called "health care transformation" bill.

Photo by Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Hospital is just weeks away from opening the final wing on its newly updated Salem facility. But many of the beds will remain empty because of budget cuts pending in the Oregon legislature. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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SALEM, Ore. – Tensions are bubbling to the surface in Salem as the legislative session continues with no certain end in sight. Lawmakers had hoped to wrap up their work earlier this week. But by midday Thursday, it became apparent that the session would continue at least through Friday. That led Peter Courtney, President of the Senate, to blast the members of the House.

Photo courtesy Oregon Governor's Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers and Governor John Kitzhaber say they've reached a last-minute deal on two of the Governor's legislative priorities. The agreement paves the way for a possible adjournment Thursday or Friday. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Photo credit: M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon ranchers who lose livestock to a wolf attack would be eligible for a tax credit under a measure approved Wednesday by the Oregon House. The bill would authorize a total of $37,000 in tax credits statewide each year.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are negotiating a way to wrap up business this week. They’re scheduled to adjourn on Wednesday. Some bills are passing, but major legislation remains bottled up in committee.

Photo by: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon is putting the finishing touches on a gleaming new mental health hospital. The Salem facility replaces a crumbling 130-year-old building and is hailed as a new chapter in the state's troubled history of treating people judged guilty but insane. But there are far more mentally ill people in Oregon’s standard prisons. And the inmates with the most severe mental problems are housed in a ward designed for hardened criminals. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman found that facility isn’t designed for treatment.

Photo credit: Oregon Governors Office / Oregon Governors Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is keeping up the public pressure on lawmakers to pass some of his major policy proposals this session. For the second day in a row, the Democrat held a state capitol press conference to urge the legislature to pass bills that have been stuck in committee.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – With less than a week to go in the legislative session, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is stepping up the pressure on lawmakers to act soon on his major policy proposals. At least one of his key initiatives gained final approval Thursday, but three more are stalled.

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SALEM, Ore. – If there's one catch-phrase that's popular in the Oregon capitol these days, it's "mandate relief." Specifically, the kind of mandates that apply to cash-strapped school districts. But as Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, not everyone thinks it's a good idea to do away with the requirements.

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SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are trying to crack down on bad behavior at funerals. The state House voted Tuesday to increase the penalty to up to a year in jail for disorderly conduct within 200 feet of a funeral service.

United States Geological Survey

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon parents who want to know if their child's school is strong enough to withstand a major earthquake could soon have a new way of finding out. The Oregon Senate voted unanimously Friday to require seismic ratings for all public schools in the state be posted online.

Photo credit: Oregon Governors Office / Oregon Governors Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has a budget counter-offer to state lawmakers. The Democrat he says his plan would prevent a prison closure and some cuts to human services. His proposal Thursday would also tap reserve funds.

When Pat Matthews turned 65, her declining health led her in search of a place that could offer increasing levels of care as she grew older.

And Matthews had one other requirement: She wanted to bring Carol Bosworth, her partner of nearly 20 years. At the very first place they visited, that was a problem.

"They didn't say we couldn't come. But they said that we would be best off if we were sisters," Matthews says. "We crossed them off our list, because that's not the way we want to live."

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