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 Primary System
7:08 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Oregon Voters Could Decide On "Top Two" Primary System

Chief petitioner Jim Kelly turns in six boxes of signatures for the Top Two primary initiative.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon voters might have the chance to overhaul the state's primary voting system this fall. Sponsors of an initiative to create a so-called "Top Two" primary turned in six cases of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office Monday. The measure would let people vote in primaries even if they don't belong to a major political party. The top two vote-getters would advance to the general election, regardless of party. Chief petitioner Jim Kelly says it will give more Oregonians a part in the process.

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ODOT Preparedness
6:23 am
Wed June 18, 2014

State Audit Questions ODOT's Long-Term Preparedness

The Oregon Department of Transportation may lose a vast amount of institutional knowledge in the coming years. That's according to an audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State. And the report questions whether ODOT is doing enough to retain that knowledge of how to design and build roads. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Diesel Ownership
7:34 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Northwest Diesel Ownership Among Tops Nationally, Still Lags Behind Europe

A truck carrying diesel fuel.
Credit FlickrLickr / Wikimedia Commons

Northwesterners love their diesel pickups. A new report by a diesel industry group shows Oregon and Idaho are in the top ten when it comes to highest rates of diesel vehicle ownership in the nation. But the overall rate pales in comparison to other parts of the world. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Oregon WWII Memorial
7:23 am
Tue June 3, 2014

'They Deserve The Honor:' Oregon's World War II Memorial Set To Open

World War II veteran Art Sorenson holds the helmet he wore in battle.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

June 6 is the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of western Europe. And this year’s D-Day will be especially meaningful for World War II veterans in Oregon. The state's long-awaited World War II Memorial will open on that day. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman spoke with one veteran of the conflict who plans to attend the dedication ceremony.

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Oregon GOP Primary
6:12 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Wehby Defeats Conger In Oregon GOP Senate Primary

Monica Wehby greets supporters at an election night rally in Oregon City.
Credit John Rosman

In Oregon's GOP Senate primary, Monica Wehby handily defeated Republican rival Jason Conger for the right to take on Democrat Jeff Merkley this fall. Wehby posted a wide margin of victory despite some last-minute embarrassing revelations. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Oregon Same-Sex Marriage
7:33 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Weddings Begin As Oregon Judge Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

Jammie Russell and Michelle Hatfield were one of the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license in Marion County.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Same-sex couples are getting married in Oregon now that a federal judge has overturned the state's ban on gay marriage. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled the law violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians. Correspondent Chris Lehman has this round-up of the day's events.

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Oregon Same-Sex Marriage
7:43 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Oregon Judge Set To Issue Ruling In Gay Marriage Lawsuit

A federal judge in Oregon is set to rule Monday in a case that could legalize same-sex marriage in the state. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane says he'll issue a ruling at noon. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Oregon GOP Race
7:51 am
Mon May 12, 2014

GOP Senate Candidates Highlight Personal Stories

Oregon GOP candidate Jason Conger.
Credit Photo courtesy Oregon House Republicans.

The race for the right to take on incumbent US Senator Jeff Merkley is heating up in Oregon. And if you were a screenwriter working on a movie about either of his potential challengers in the upcoming Republican primary, you’d have no shortage of material. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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Education
6:26 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Oregon Audit Outlines 'Achievement Gap' In State Middle Schools

Minority and economically disadvantaged 8th graders in Oregon are falling behind in the classroom. That's according to a new audit released Wednesday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office. It shows that students from those groups are often a year behind their peers in reading and math.

Half of the students at Ogden Middle School in Oregon City qualify for free or reduced lunches. That's a sign of the economic hardships many students face there. Principal Libby Miller says staff members have learned to keep an eye out for kids from struggling families.

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Same-Sex Marriage
7:38 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Judge Won't Issue Immediate Decision In Oregon Gay Marriage Case

A federal judge in Oregon will not issue an immediate decision Wednesday in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage. That news comes as gay rights advocates prepare to argue their side in Eugene.

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