Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage.  Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

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.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown rolled out a two-year spending plan Thursday at the State Capitol. The proposal tackles a $1.7 billion budget shortfall with a mix of program cuts and tax hikes.

Oregonians with disabilities will soon be able to save money without losing their state and federal benefits. That's due to a newly created program rolling out December 6.

The number of public school students in Oregon considered homeless has increased for the third year in a row. That's according to an annual report released by the state Department of Education.

When the 2017 Oregon legislature convenes in January, there will be familiar faces in most of the key leadership posts. Democrats hold a majority in both chambers, which means they can effectively choose who holds the gavel.

With Thanksgiving on the mind of most people this week, a new report shows the number of Oregonians who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from continues to rise.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has filled two high-profile vacancies in state government. The Democrat announced Friday appointments to head the Oregon Lottery and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

The two largest business lobbying groups in Oregon will merge next year. The organizations say the move will give business interests a more unified voice at the state Capitol.

Oregon lawmakers didn't get much by way of good news Wednesday with the release of the latest revenue projections. Those show a $52 million drop in anticipated revenue during the upcoming budget cycle.

That means lawmakers will have to patch up an even bigger budget shortfall, which is already expected to exceed $1.5 billion.

The Independent Party of Oregon is looking ahead after their first time being on a general election ballot as a major party. The group didn't win any races but leaders say the party did make its presence known.

The state of Oregon is running behind schedule when it comes to conducting food safety inspections. That's the conclusion of an audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State.

According to numbers released Monday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office, about 42 percent of people who were automatically registered to vote this year did so in this month's election.

Oregonians could be voting in two years on whether they want to remain a part of the United States. Sponsors of an initiative petition called the Oregon Secession Act submitted the initial paperwork just after Tuesday's election results became known.

More voters cast a ballot than ever before in this month's election in Oregon. The Oregon Secretary of State's office announced Thursday that 2,022,384 voters took part.

A new state audit says the Oregon agency that monitors natural hazards has engaged in some questionable fiscal practices. The report says the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is also taking steps to correct the problem.

Around a third of all American adults are concerned that the election will be rigged. With one week remaining to turn in ballots, Oregon elections officials say the state's vote-by-mail system is as safe as ever.

Democrats are in firm control of both chambers of the Oregon legislature. But in the state House, nearly one-quarter of the current members won't be returning to the capitol next year. That's led to a number of hotly contested races for open seats.

And many of those battleground districts are in the suburbs.

The top civil rights lawyer at the Oregon Department of Justice is suing his employer. Erious Johnson alleged in a lawsuit filed in federal court that the agency violated his civil rights.

The daily newspaper in Oregon's capital is undergoing some changes. The Statesman Journal in Salem laid off two top newsroom employees and has sold the downtown building that houses its newsroom.

No matter where you live in Oregon, all you need is a single first-class stamp if you want to return your ballot by mail. Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins said ballots in all 36 counties are small enough that just one "Forever" stamp is all it takes.

Marijuana retailers began collecting a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales starting in January. That money is adding up quickly.

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