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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Northwest Natural Gas Prices
5:18 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Natural Gas Utilities Expect Continued Low Prices

Oregon's three natural gas companies expect prices to drop this winter.
Kevin Mooney

Natural gas customers in the Northwest will pay even less to heat their homes this winter. That was the message Thursday from Oregon's three largest natural gas utilities. They issued their prediction at a meeting of the state’s Public Utility Commission.

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Revenue Employees Disciplined
4:05 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Oregon Revenue Employees Disciplined Over $2.1 Million Mistake

The Oregon Department of Revenue disciplined four employees over their role in approving a fraudulent tax refund.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

The Oregon Department of Revenue has disciplined four employees over their role in approving a fraudulent $2.1 million tax refund. The announcement Wednesday comes a day after the Salem woman who claimed the cash was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison.

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Non-Tribal Casino Initiative
5:22 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Casino Amendment Makes Oregon Ballot

An initiative that could eventually lead to the Northwest's first full-service, non-tribal casino has qualified for the November ballot in Oregon.
Kristofer Björkman Flickr

A newly certified initiative to allow non-tribal casinos in Oregon sets the stage for a possible showdown over gambling centers in the state. The Oregon Secretary of State's office announced Monday that it has certified an initiative for the ballot that could eventually lead to the region’s first full-service casino not operated by a tribe.

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Hair Braiding Licensing Rule
5:07 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

African-American Hair Braiders Want Easing Of State Licensing Rules

Some African-American hair stylists are objecting to an Oregon licensing rule that means they can't braid hair without taking a two-year course. And they’re asking state lawmakers to take up the cause.

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Oregon NCLB Waiver
6:15 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Oregon Gets Waiver From No Child Left Behind

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Oregon has joined Washington and 31 other states in getting a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Courtesy StateImpact Florida NPR.

Oregon has joined Washington and 31 other states in getting a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law. The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that it's approved Oregon's request for more flexibility. Oregon education officials say part of the aim is to shift away from penalizing schools for failing to meet rigid benchmarks. Ben Cannon is Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s the education policy advisor. He says the green light from the feds ends a period of uncertainty for school districts.

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Tired Truck Drivers
6:38 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Oregon, Wash. Truck Inspections Turn Up Weary Drivers

An Oregon Department of Transportation motor carrier enforcement officer weighs a truck as a it passes through a weigh station.
ODOT Flickr

A joint effort in Oregon and Washington to make sure truckers are following safety rules turned up a higher than expected number of weary drivers. More than a quarter of drivers inspected in Oregon were found to be on the road when they shouldn't have been.

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Oregon Corporate Kicker Rebate
4:50 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Corporate Kicker Initiative Could Be Low-Key Fight

Another corporate tax hike, Measure 67, generated more opposition than the current measure headed for the ballot.
M.O. Stevens Wikimedia Commons

This fall, Oregon voters will debate the future of one of the state’s most unusual tax policies. Oregon elections officials will soon announce whether an initiative to repeal the state's one-of-a-kind corporate kicker rebate has made the ballot. Backers submitted well over the number of signatures needed. But unlike one recent corporate tax measure, this initiative isn't generating much opposition yet.

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Salem Street Pianos
4:39 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Street Pianos Invade Salem

Tom White plays a street piano in downtown Salem.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Oregon's capital city is echoing with the sounds of impromptu piano concerts this week. About a dozen brightly decorated street pianos are scattered about town. It's part of a worldwide phenomenon inspired by a British artist.

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Oregon Marijuana Initiative
5:26 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Pro-Pot Petitioners Sue Over Invalidated Signatures

Activists for an initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession say the Oregon Secretary of State has been too aggressive in invalidating petition signatures.
Hendrike Wikimedia Commons

Marijuana initiative activists say Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is being too aggressive in tossing out petition signatures. One group filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying the rate of invalidated signatures will likely snuff out an initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession.

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Oregon Foreclosure Mediation Law
5:19 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

New Mediation Law Could Help Struggling Homeowners

A new law will allow struggling homeowners to sit down with their lender to work out an agreement.
Jeffery Turner Flickr

Oregonians facing foreclosure will soon have another tool to stay in their house. A law that takes effect Wednesday allows struggling homeowners the chance to look their lender in the eye.

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