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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Emily Taylor / Northwest News Network

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.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Rising flood waters have led to evacuations and road closures in the Willamette Valley. In the town of Turner, city officials have encouraged all residents to evacuate. Shelters are open in Salem for those displaced by flood waters. Salem residents Mark and Andi Bean were eyeing the rising waters. They were filling up sandbags at a city of Salem maintenance facility.

LA GRANDE, Ore. – In an age of hyper-partisan politics, alienating the party base can be political suicide for a lawmaker. Oregon Republicans predicted a voter backlash from a pair of budget-balancing tax hikes last year. But the first to feel the heat aren't Democratic state lawmakers. Instead, two eastern Oregon Republicans face challengers from within their own party after voting in favor of raising taxes. 

Oregon Republican Party Chair Bob Tiernan isn't known for mincing words.

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