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 Legislature
6:34 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Oregon Session Nears Halfway Point With Key Votes Looming

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
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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Oregon Spending Plan
4:10 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Oregon Revenues Down, Slightly

Oregon capital at night.
Photoe Source: GNU

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.

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Prop 8 northwest
3:57 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Prop 8 Ruling Likely Has No Immediate Effect On Northwest

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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Oregon Senator Lawsuit
6:55 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Lawsuit Alleging Shady Dealings Against Oregon Lawmaker Withdrawn

Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist.
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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Oregon Budget
5:02 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Legislative Budget-Writers Target Middle Managers, Prison

Oregon Capital at night.
Use provided by GNU Free Documentation License.

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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Oregon Special Election
6:22 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Bonamici Claims Oregon Congressional Seat In Special Election Victory

Suzanne Bonamici thanks her supporters after her win in the 1st District.
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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Oregon State Budget
6:30 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Oregon Lawmakers Will Tackle Revenue Shortfall In February Session

The Oregon Legislature will face lower revenues than expected this year.
Owen Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Senior Citizens
7:18 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Retirement Options Limited For Gay And Lesbian Seniors

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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Oregon Rising Waters
2:19 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Willamette Valley Copes With Flooding

People fill sandbags at a City of Salem maintenance facility.
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.

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Our Northwest Economy
1:59 pm
Tue April 13, 2010

Eastern Oregon GOP Incumbents Face Anti-Tax Backlash

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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