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.

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

The three major-party contenders for Oregon treasurer faced off Monday in a debate that often focused on the candidates' qualifications for the job. Republican Jeff Gudman, Democrat Tobias Read and the Independent Party's Chris Telfer were part of the conversation during a broadcast of OPB's "Think Out Loud."

Voters in Oregon and Washington can expect to see ballots arriving in their mailboxes starting later this week. And this year, more of those ballots than ever will go out in the mail.

Oregonians will be able to use their drivers licenses to enter federal buildings until at least next June. That's because of an extension granted by the U.S. government this week.

Working for Oregon's Department of Human Services is stressful. That's one of the findings of an agency-wide survey released Wednesday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

After more than a decade of construction, a section of U.S. Highway 20 in Oregon's Coast Range is now open to traffic. But work isn't done on the project yet.

There's about one month remaining to submit proposals to buy Oregon's Elliott State Forest. The Oregon Department of State Lands said so far, no one has expressed interest in the 82,000 acre property in southwest Oregon.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown discussed a potential new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River during a phone call this week. Inslee mentioned his conversation with Governor Brown during an interview with the editorial board of the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver.

You can now use your credit or debit card when you visit the DMV in Oregon. The agency is now accepting plastic at all 60 of its field offices.

Two law enforcement groups in Oregon say drug possession convictions should result in lighter sentences than they currently do. The Oregon Sheriffs Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police said they'll urge state lawmakers to classify drug possession as a misdemeanor instead of a felony when no other crimes are committed.

Three of the candidates for Oregon Secretary of State made their case to voters in Eugene Friday.

Democrat Brad Avakian, Republican Dennis Richardson and Alan Zundel of the Pacific Green Party spoke before the Eugene City Club.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed Margaret Salazar as the new head of the state agency that handles works to provide affordable housing. The announcement was made as lawmakers gear up to tackle housing issues during next year's legislative session.

Three of the candidates for Oregon Secretary of State made their case to voters in Eugene Friday. Democrat Brad Avakian, Republican Dennis Richardson and Alan Zundel of the Pacific Green Party spoke before the Eugene City Club.

If a group that rallied at the state capitol in Salem Thursday has its way, Oregon lawmakers will take up two major pieces of legislation designed to improve rights for renters next year.

Oregon college campuses should have better access to sworn police officers and develop active shooter training programs for all students and employees. Those are some of the recommendations in a draft report issued Thursday by a work group convened by the Oregon governor's office.

Women and girls in Oregon are more likely to be survivors of sexual violence, and have the highest incidence of reported depression in the country, according to a report released Wednesday on the status of women in the state.

According to a new report from a state task force, the ratio of students to school nurses has more than doubled in the past five years in Oregon.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Human Services are telling people who rely on its services to prepare for a potential round of budget cuts next year. Agency leaders Thursday outlined possible cost-cutting scenarios.

Polls are showing that Oregon voters aren't rallying around either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. While Clinton is expected to win the state, her campaign is struggling to attract Democrats who voted for Bernie Sanders in the May primary.

Steady job growth means Oregon's economy will continue to do well in the short term. But storm clouds are on the horizon. That was the prediction Wednesday from state economists.