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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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SALEM, Ore. – The new head of the Oregon Department of Corrections says she's preparing to close multiple prisons in order to address a funding shortfall. Colette Peters announced the possible actions in an email to agency staff. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Photo credit Oregon Governor's Office

SALEM, Ore. – Halfway into a month-long legislative session in Salem, Governor John Kitzhaber’s key policy proposals face a major test as soon as Tuesday. As Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, there have been a few bumps along the road.

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SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers have a clearer picture of what they'll need to do to bring the current spending plan back into balance. State economists said Wednesday that they expect revenues to fall another $35 million. As Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, that's not considered a very big drop.

Marriage equality demonstrators / Photo Credit: Wikimedia user Staffordvaughan / Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday's ruling overturning California’s ban on same-sex marriage is not expected to affect similar laws in other states. Oregon and Idaho also have voter-approved amendments against gay marriage. But Washington lawmakers are poised to send Governor Chris Gregoire a measure allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

Photo Source: Oregon State Legislature

SALEM, Ore. – Business partners suing Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist asked a judge Friday to dismiss their own lawsuit. They originally accused the Republican lawmaker of fraud. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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SALEM, Ore. - Oregon legislative budget writers are targeting middle managers in an effort to bring the state's spending plan back into balance. They also announced Wednesday a proposal to close a 440-bed minimum security prison.

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PORTLAND – Oregon has a new representative in Congress. Democrat Suzanne Bonamici beat Republican Rob Cornilles Tuesday night for the right to fill the seat vacated by Democrat David Wu, who resigned last summer. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers return to Salem on Wednesday with a fiscal challenge on their hands. Expected revenues have fallen sharply since the legislature created the current spending plan last summer. As Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, Lawmakers expect to hear more bad news soon after they arrive back in town.

Oregon lawmakers plan to be at the capitol for about a month. One of the first things they'll do is get the latest predictions about the state's revenue picture.

PORTLAND - As gay and lesbian people age, their need for retirement options mirrors those of the general population. But they often face unique challenges, especially when it comes to finding housing. For instance, some active-living retirement facilities don't allow unmarried couples to live together. And some gay seniors fear a cold shoulder from staff or fellow retirees. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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