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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Oregon Public Safety
5:57 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Kitzhaber Moves Ahead With Look At Oregon's Public Safety System

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber hopes a newly revived public safety commission will lead to big changes in the state's criminal justice system. The Democrat issued an executive order Monday that brings back to life a blue ribbon panel created by his predecessor, Ted Kulongoski.

Oregon's prison population is expected to grow by another 2,000 by the end of the decade. Kitzhaber's public safety adviser, Steven Powers, says the governor thinks Oregon needs to take a close look at everything from mandatory sentences to drug rehabilitation programs.

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Oregon Attorney General Election
5:01 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Oregon Attorney General Candidates Make Final Push

Candidates for Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Dwight Holton.
Photo credit: OPB News Northwest News Network

The two Democrats running for Oregon Attorney General are making a final push as Tuesday's election nears. Both of the candidates have raised about $600,000 each, according to the latest figures.

Current Oregon Attorney General John Kroger says he'll step down this summer to take a job at Reed College in Portland. That means whoever wins the Democratic primary could have an inside shot at taking over the job in a matter of months, if they're appointed by Democratic governor John Kitzhaber.

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Third Party On Oregon Ballot
5:22 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Americans Elect Qualifies For Oregon Ballot

Americans Elect has submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the Oregon ballot in November.
Northwest News Network

A new political group will appear on the Oregon presidential ballot this fall. The Oregon Secretary of State's office announced Thursday that Americans Elect has submitted enough valid signatures to qualify. But voters will have to wait a little longer to find out who the party's candidate will be.

"Americans Elect" calls itself a non-partisan organization that's trying to give Americans a third option for president. The group says it will hold an internet primary to select a candidate next month.

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Logging Protester Scales Flagpole
4:39 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Logging Protesters Run Their Message Up State Capitol Flagpole

Perry Graham climbs down a flagpole at the Oregon state capitol after hanging a banner protesting logging on state owned forest land.
Photo credit: Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

A group that's against logging on state owned forest lands drew a crowd of onlookers at the Oregon State Capitol Thursday morning. A member of Cascadia Forest Defenders climbed a flagpole and draped a large banner that read "Schools versus Trees? We want both!”

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Oregon Representative race
6:03 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Oregon Democratic State Representative Faces Serious Challenge From Within Party

Jeff Reardon knocks on doors in southeast Portland.
Photo by Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

There’s a lot of news lately about conservative challengers to Republican “establishment” candidates. This week, Indiana Senator Dick Lugar lost to a Tea Party backed opponent.

But it’s not just a Republican phenomenon. In next week’s Oregon primary election, a Democratic state representative is facing a serious challenge after frequently riling members of his own party. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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NW Painkiller Prescription Reduction
4:41 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Northwest Hospitals Battle Prescription Pain Overdoses

Matt Harp describes his former addiction to prescription painkillers during a news conference at Salem Hospital.
Photo credit: Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

More people are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers. Some Northwest hospitals say they're combating the problem by drastically reducing the amount of prescriptions they write for the medications. Salem Hospital is the latest.

Experts say many users become addicted after initially taking painkillers for legitimate medical reasons. That's what happened to Matt Harp. He hurt his back playing college baseball. His doctor realized Harp was becoming addicted, but the Oregon man told a Salem news conference he simply visited different doctors and hospitals.

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Pharmaceutical Settlement
4:10 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Northwest States Among Those Splitting Pharmaceutical Settlement

Oregon, Washington and Idaho are among the 44 states splitting a $100 million settlement with pharmaceutical giant Abbott Labs. The agreement announced Monday resolves a dispute over the company's marketing of a drug called Depakote .

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Oregon School Mascots
6:29 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Oregon Board Close To Vote On Native American Mascot Ban

Molalla High School has removed Native American imagery from most sports uniforms, but the logo remains on some athletic facilities.
Photo by Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Fifteen Oregon schools may have to change their sports imagery soon. A state panel could vote later this month [May 17] on whether to ban Native American-themed mascots. The proposal faces resistance, as Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman found on a visit to the Willamette Valley town of Molalla.

This fall, Denise Everhart's son will become the fifth generation in his family to attend Molalla High School. He plans to play football.

Everhart: "He will be on the field as an Indian."

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Oregon Medicare
4:53 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Oregon Leaders Celebrate Federal Money For Medicaid Overhaul

The federal government has agreed to pump nearly $2 billion into Oregon's experiment at changing the way it delivers health care to low income people. The news Thursday came after Governor John Kitzhaber and three other state officials flew to Washington to personally lobby for the cash.

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May Day Rallies
6:48 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Northwest Rallies On May Day

Demonstrators gathered and marched near the state capitol building in Salem.
Photo by Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he'll convene a workgroup to study possible changes to the state's driver's license laws for undocumented immigrants. That news prompted cheers at a May Day rally in front of the state capitol Tuesday evening. Thousands of people marked the day with demonstrations in Salem, along with other cities across the Northwest. Correspondent Chris Lehman has this report from the march in Salem.

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